The new harvest is often discussed with olive oil. What is that exactly? Is that important for the consumer and if so why? We will elaborate on this in this article.
One harvest per year
As with many fruits such as grapes, apples, pears, olives also speak of a single harvest in the year. This takes place in the period from October (early harvest) to sometimes up to and including February (late harvest). The olives are processed into the fresh olive oil. That fresh olive oil is often called 'new harvest'.
The moment of harvesting the olives provides a lot of variation in the taste of the olive oil. The farmer therefore plays a hugely important role there. From October onwards he therefore walks daily through his trees to check how far the olives are. Green olives are still unripe. Purple olives are on their way to full maturity and blacks are fully ripe.
The green, unripe olives give less oil but more taste and the ripe, of course, just the other way around. Only green olives will make the olive oil (too) bitter and peppery, only black gives the scent of ripe fruit and even vanilla hues. The experience and craftsmanship of the olive farmer ensures that exactly the right moment is chosen. The weather also plays an important role in this. It is not possible to harvest in the rain. That damaged the tree and fruits too much. Too hot weather also has its challenges. You understand that when the decision is made to harvest it is quite a stress moment.
Harvest very quickly and very carefully
The harvest itself also has its challenges. Olives are very delicate fruits and the olive oil that is made from them is at its very best when the olives are well washed, undamaged and processed quickly after harvesting.
The so-called acidity of the oil is very important. The purer the oil, the lower the acidity and the EU has determined that the oil may only be called Extra Vierge when that acidity is lower is 0.8%. The oil is therefore EXTRA VIRGIN (untreated, pure, clean) when the acidity is so low. When an olive is damaged (just think of an apple with a dent from falling) it will oxidize much faster, so it will rot. It is therefore essential that the olive is undamaged and processed very quickly, a matter of at most a few hours.
The olive oils that you will find on this site are all processed on their own estate (I deliberately do not say any pressing, I will come back to that later) and harvested extremely carefully (often by hand). This means that the vast majority of olive oils on this site only have an acidity of 0.1%. That is therefore 8 times lower than it may be according to the EU. The class already indicates that and then we haven't even mentioned the taste and smell.
Centrifugeren of persen
Wanneer de olijven voorzichtig zijn geplukt, in kleine kratten zijn vervoerd zodat ze niet geplet worden onder hun eigen gewicht en binnen enkele uren al worden verwerkt in telkens Spik & Span schoongemaakte machines, dan krijg je zeer zuivere olijfolie. Dit is de nieuwe oogst. Vers en met de meeste smaak en geur.
Het ras, het moment van oogsten en het vakmanschap van de maker.. dat bepaald de smaak en geur
Het proces van olijf naar olie gaat in 2 of 3 stappen. De eerste stap is het maken van de pasta. Door de olijven te pletten op een soort molensteen of te vermaken in een soort gehaktmolen ontstaat er een pasta. Deze pasta wordt bij een constante temperatuur van tussen de 25 en 30 graden (koude persing) door een mangel gehaald. Hier komt de ervaring en het vakmanschap van de olijfoliemaker om de hoek kijken. Hoe lang er wordt geroerd en bij welke temperatuur is belangrijk voor het laten ontstaan van de smaak en geur. Natuurlijk heeft het olijfras en het moment van plukken de meest de meeste invloed op de smaak en geur, maar hier kan de olijfoliemaker zijn steentje bijdragen en de smaak en geur finetunen. Denk maar aan het maken van wijn. De druifsoort, het oogstmoment en de ligging van de gaard hebben een gigantische invloed op de smaak, maar de wijnmaker toont dan zijn talenten om de wijn tot wereldklasse te maken. Bij olijfolie is dat niet anders.
Pressing or centrifuging olive paste
That pasta used to be put on braided round reed mats and then the mats were piled one by one into a tower of wicker mats with olive paste in between. That tower was put under a press and oil that dripped from it was collected. The oil then still contains a lot of water. By letting the oil rest on barrels, the pure oil floated on its own and could drain the water from the bottom of the barrel until 100% pure olive oil was left over. These are phase two and three. Pressing and then separating oil and water. With so-called centrifugation, there is no third phase.
By centrifuging the pasta at a very high speed, the lightest material (the oil) is thrown out first. In this way, it is not necessary to separate the water. The liquid that is collected and flows from a pipe into a barrel is immediately delicious fresh 100% pure olive oil.
New harvest and the consumer
The Olive Oil Shop always sells the last available harvest. Some brands already receive them in November, but usually they wait until January. That is because many makers filter their oil in a natural way. Fresh olive oil is cloudy and has many small particles of the skin and kernel. Very tasty, but the average consumer might find that scary. All the more so because those small particles sink to the bottom and therefore produce a low deposit. Most makers leave their oil on the barrels for about 6 to 8 weeks. The depot sinks to the bottom of their silo and the oil is filtered in a natural way. It is also possible to filter the oil directly from the press / centrifuge. Then the oil is available earlier. Some oil makers swear by it, others find it to be a violation of the taste and smell they create. Making olive oil is simply not an exact science.
Receiving a new harvest means that you get fresh oil with a longer shelf life.
Olive oil often has a THT of one and a half to 2 years after harvest. Some use a period of 1.5 years after bottling. In the silos under gas, the olive oil simply remains in exactly the same condition as just after the harvest.
Our olive oil makers only bottle to order and we keep the stock as low as possible in order to always deliver top-class olive oil. For the taste and odor it is therefore no longer very important to really receive the last harvest. A new crop of olive oil is normally tenable for a year longer than the previous crop. That may be important, but of course I hope that you enjoy the olive oil so much that it will not be in the kitchen for more than a few months.
Our olive oils are generally from small world-class producers. So it can certainly be the case (as opposed to the bulk brands) that one year tastes different to another year. It is often a matter of taste. Strangely enough, it may be that you were better off personally with the previous harvest than with the new one.
Yet we always go for the new fresh olive oil. If only out of curiosity.