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Organic Olive Oil: What is Its Hidden Value?

Organic Olive Oil Protects Our Meals from Potentially Harmful Pecticides.

However, There is an Even More Crucial Reason to Choose Organic EVOO.

olive tree graphic resembles myrolion olive groves

Lazy? Quick Read.

Key Takeaways on Organic Olive Oil

1. Organic Olive Oil is characterized by the absence of composite chemical residues that derive from industrially prepared fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

2. While Organic EVOO doesn’t include potentially harmful chemicals, its real value to society is related to the way it is produced.

3. Conventional olive tree cultivation, just like all conventional agriculture, promotes imbalance, desertification and climate change. However, specifically Greek Organic EVOO promotes balance, regeneration and battles Climate Change.

4. Whether you choose high quality olive oil for raw use or a mid range EVOO for cooking, it has to be Organic, if you want to do your part on protecting the environment and yourself.

5. Organic certification might not be enough anymore. Consumers like you need to do their research and study their producers. This article will help you make the right questions to receive the appropriate answers.

Athanasios Founder of Myrolion Organic EVOO caught in the act of olive fruit harvesting

Author: Athanasios Demeslis

Founder of Myrolion

This article has been meticulously written by Athanasios to help answer your questions on Organic EVOO.

Years of personal experience with olive tree cultivation and olive oil extraction have been combined with daily studying on EVOO to help you nurture yourself and your loved ones in the best way possible.

What is the Real Value of Organic Olive Oil?

Organic Olive Oil (bio-olive oil, eco-olive oil, etc.) is usually perceived from a consumerist point of view; there are no pesticides or herbicides to sneak into our meals. And that’s great. However, buying olive oil is not only about us anymore, it is about our collective home, the Earth.

As a producer who spends days on his groves, I believe there’s another, even more important aspect. Our family-run business experiences the benefits of organic EVOO on the field.

Put simply, our family farms look like natural olive forests. Our trees are part of a greater ecosystem in which all forms of life are respected and allowed to bloom. In return, all those beautiful bugs and flowers that embrace my trees are a great source of nutrients. Sometimes we fail to see the connection, which is indirect yet crucial. Our trees are grown in the same way they would thousands of years ago.

By choosing (truly) organic olive oil, you choose not to harm an ecosystem’s diversity. You choose natural balance over perpetual, artificial interference that leads to long-term imbalance. The following two images will help you understand the difference.
Ioanna harvesting Chamomile in our family's groves that produce organic olive oil.

Organic Olive Tree Cultivation

In this picture, Ioanna is caught in the act of harvesting chamomile to later turn into relaxing chamomile tea. As you can see, she is in our olive groves, right in the shade of an olive tree.

A very interesting result of organic farming is that my family has the ability to enjoy all this ecosystem has to offer, not just olive oil or green olives, but everything from mountain weeds and oregano to wild asparagus and mushrooms. In the long run it’s a win-win situation. All these ingredients improve our daily diet as it resembles a hunger-gatherer diet.

The trees enjoy the presence of hundreds of species of microbes, herbs, flowers, insects, and other animals that essentially turn our olive groves into a natural olive forest. In addition, this diversity allows our organic EVOO to offer a great culinary experience, by carrying robust aromas, delicate flavor and overall freshness from this diverse ecosystem. 

Biodiversity is a key factor for a thriving ecosystem. The higher the diversity, the higher the chances that a natural balance can be achieved.

We don’t see ourselves as the all-knowing, all-powerful rulers of our land. On the contrary, we allow Life to lead the way and we follow.

Another very important aspect of this ecosystem is that the increased number of root systems functions as a carbon sink, essentially increasing our land’s capability to store carbon and battle climate change.

Conventional Olive Tree Cultivation

This is a photo of a conventional olive grove located in France. The lack of any form of life below the olive trees is shocking in comparison to our organic olive groves. No microbes, flowers, herbs or animals have the chance to thrive in such an environment. In effect, it is not what we consider to be “Nature” anymore. 

We are used to seeing images of tilled land filled with organic-matter-deprived soil. However, this old agricultural practice has proven to be harmful to ecosystems’ diversity. Eventually, that leads to poor nutritional value of the produced food, desertification, and a limited carbon capacity in the soil.

Take a moment to look at the two very different types of soil and realize the greater importance of organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).

Conventional Olive Grove that does not produce organic olive oil.
Freshly harvested olives ready to become organic olive oil
High Phenolic Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Myrolion 500ml

What is Organic Olive Oil?

Organic olive oil, just like all organic products, is produced in the absence of industrially prepared pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. This should be the case throughout the production process, including cultivation, harvesting, pressing, storing and bottling. In short, if you are looking for the healthiest olive oil out there, it has to be certified organic.

Is Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil the Best Olive Oil?

This is a relative question and it really depends on the intended use and resulting value-for-money of the oil. Put simply, you can’t have good quality olive oil if it’s not organic. 

– First of all, choose between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Virgin Olive Oil. If your intended use is raw use (salad, dips, vinaigrette, drizzle over pasta or other meals) then you shouldn’t settle for anything less than Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You can choose a cheap virgin olive oil for cooking (eg. anything that involves heating for extended amounts of time). For a high quality olive oil with increased oxidative stability, like Myrolion, it is generally safe and cost-efficient to cook (pan frying, deep frying, oven baking) thanks to its high smoke point (207 degrees Celsius), which is the result of a limited concentration of free fatty acids and overall good fatty acids profile (high concentration of oleic acid which belongs in the ω9 monounsaturated fatty acids group). At this point, it is worth mentioning that few olive varieties have such a stable fatty acid profile like Myrolion’s Amfissa variety.

– If you want your olive oil to have increased and certified health benefits you’ll want to choose a high phenolic olive oil, rich in polyphenols, thanks to its early harvest and cold pressed extraction, below 27 degrees Celsius.

– The taste of olive oil can give numerous hints about its overall quality. Myrolion’s fruity flavour profile typically reminds of cut grass or green tea. Distinct bitterness and a peppery kick typically validate that the extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols.

– Finally, whether you choose a high quality olive oil or a cheaper virgin olive oil, make sure it is always certified organic. You do not want to consume pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer residues.

– For more details about which olive oil is the best for you, feel free to study our olive oil buying guide.

What are the Benefits of Organic EVOO?

The benefits of organic olive oil are related to the fact that it does not contain residues of chemical compounds of industrially prepared pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers, that conventional olive oil typically includes.

-Absence of Dimethoate: A typical pesticide that is used against the olive fruit fly, an olive’s most common enemy. It is important to note that dimethoate is banned in France since 2016 due to safety concerns for consumers. None of the olive oil producing countries in the Mediterranean has banned dimethoate as of now. Given the commonality with which dimethoate is used as an olive fruit fly pesticide, it is highly likely that you are consuming traces of dimethoate while consuming conventional olive oil.

– Absence of O,O-Dimethyl O-[3-methyl-4-(methylsulfanyl)phenyl] phosphorothioate: Although this organothiophosphate insecticide is listed as a moderately toxic compound by the World Health Organization, environmental impact is severe especially on birds, despite its low half-life. Until now it has only been banned in Australia due to safety concerns. It is highly likely that conventionally produced olive oils from Greece, Italy and Spain might contain residues of this.

How is Organic EVOO Certified?

On the left you can see a typical chemical analysis of a truly organic olive oil. The olive oil is tested for hundreds of different substances that are known to be used in conventional agriculture. Myrolion always yields no quantifiable substances since we do not utilize any. As a result, it is absolutely safe to use in salads, salad dressings, cooking or directly.

For olive oil to be certified organic, supervision by an Inspection Body is mandatory. As you can see in our partners section, Myrolion is supervised by BioHellas, which provides inspection and certification services according to EU Regulation 834/2007. According to the Organic Certification Directory 2008, a special edition of the Organic Standard, BioHellas is among the top ten of Inspection and Certification Bodies worldwide.

BioHellas certifies that our practices and the practices of our partners that are necessary for the extraction and bottling of our organic EVOO, are indeed organic.

In the EU it is easy to identify certified organic olive oils through the European Seal of Organic Farming. In the US this can be done through the USDA Organic logo that proves that the olive oil is USDA Certified Organic.

Organic Olive Oil Analysis. No chemical compounds located.
Seal of Organic Farming Our olive trees are cultivated with organic means, while our olive oil is organically pressed.

What is the Best Way to Enjoy Organic EVOO?

We have started developing a series of traditional recipes, translated with care from my grandmother’s, aunt’s and mother’s experience.

There are numerous ways to enjoy Organic EVOO, I will briefly share with you some of my favorite;

1.  The best way to enjoy olive oil’s healthy fats and antioxidants is in the Greek Salad (In Greece we call it Choriatiki, meaning Village Salad). But there is a secret here; Once you have eaten the salad, dip some fresh bread in the “natural dressing” at the bottom. This rich, refreshing mix of oregano, olive oil and tomato juice feels like heaven on earth. Trust me.

2. Another culinary expression of heaven on earth is fresh roasted fish with olive oil and lemon juice. Don’t add anything else. And if you are in surroundings that allow it, eat it by hand, for some reason it feels much better.

These are my two personal favorites. Feel free to share yours through email and I will make sure to create new fusion recipes, embracing your cultural background and Greek tradition!

Myrolion Best Olive Oil, Greek Salad & The Acropolis

How Do We Keep Myrolion Organic?

Our family consumes the same olive oil daily. We are olive oil producers and olive oil consumers simultaneously. We wouldn’t be happy to know that our food is jammed with pesticides and herbicides. However, industrially prepared herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers allow farmers to deal with a plethora of otherwise serious challenges quickly and usually affordably. So, what do we do instead?

Hard Labor

Lots and lots of manual labor while farming. What herbicides do in one hour, we do in days of hard work. For example, during late summer we typically have to cut weeds and let them rest on the soil so they can transform to organic matter that will benefit our land in the long-run. Other farmers prefer to spray them with questionable chemical mixes and complete the process in a day. We take our time to cut these weeds by hand. Organic EVOO is the definition of slow food.

Nature Leads the Way

We let Nature do her job. Permaculture enables legumes and other naturally-occurring plant species to feed our olive trees. We also utilize organic manure from neighboring livestock farmers to enrich our soils with organic matter. Additionally, we engage in no-tilling to protect soil from erosion and nutrient depletion. While other olive oil producers prefer to easily stuff their land with industrially synthesized chemicals, leading to unsustainable, unhealthy farming, we simply prefer to mimic Nature.

Smart Pest Control

We fight pests with trapping and fruit camouflaging techniques instead of potentially harmful chemical sprays. Climate Change is a big opponent as mild winters and humid summers greatly benefit the presence of pests, especially the olive fruit fly. We make sure to always be one step ahead through weather monitoring. 

Continuous Education on Sustainable Cultivation

Our family is a proud member of Regeneration International and we are continuously increasing our understanding on soil health, diversity and overall balance. This allows us to constantly improve our practices for the benefit of our land, trees and customers.

Myrolion Organic Certifications

Let our family share this Greek organic olive oil with you!

Logo of Myrolion High Phenolic Olive Oil

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