Getting my olive oil closer to home has been wonderful. Getting olive oil that is so mild and buttery that you want to lap it up is extraordinary. Being able to make homemade mayonnaise with olive oil without it being bitter is heavenly. Chaffin’s extra virgin olive oil has been a tremdenous plus for our household.
Sometimes finding high quality products can be hard, and olive oil is no exception. Ever since I became aware of how olive oil can be corrupted with low quality olive oils, I’ve been on the look out for olive oil brands I could trust. Yup, that’s right. Sometimes when we buy our “high quality, extra virgin olive oil” we could be buying olive oil mixed with lower quality oils. I read once that people make as much selling corrupted olive oil as those selling drugs on the black market!
“In 1996, a study by the FDA found that 96% of the olive oils they tested, while being labeled 100% olive oil, had been diluted with other oils. A recent study in Italy found that only 40% of the olive oil brands labeled “extra virgin” actually met those standards. Italy produces 400,000 tons of olive oil for domestic consumption, but 750,000 tons are sold. The difference is made up with highly refined, nut and seed oils. Less strict guidelines make the situation even worse in the United States. Like in Italy, more oil is “produced” in California than there are olives available. The difference is made up with less expensive oils such as corn, soy, and sunflower. The problem is these other oils have been refined. The high temperatures of the refining process change the molecular structure of the oils, making them toxic.” 1
For more information about this topic, read the New Yorker’s article addressing it.
Not only is Chaffin’s olive oil USA grown and pure, it is delicious. How do they get such great tasting olive oil? Here’s the description of the process.
“Extra Virgin Olive Oil pressed from Mission Olives. Oil is cold centrifuge pressed less than 15 miles from the ranch. The Chaffin Mission Olive trees are in many cases older than 100 years, yielding a superior oil. Our oil olives are harvested late in the season when the flavor is mild and buttery rather than sharp and grassy. Our trees are hand harvested giving back to the workers as well as producing, clean, undamaged fruit. Oil is unfiltered for a full antioxidant profile and stored in a cold, dark environment to maintain quality. Our olives are farmed without using chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. We use cover crops and rotations of cattle, goats, sheep and chickens to control vegetation and fertilize the orchards. Goats are used to assist in brush removal and pruning rather than tillage and herbicides. Our olive groves provide valuable irrigated pasture for our cattle herd in the summer. Thus yielding two crops rather than one. Oil is pressed within hours of harvest for best taste.”
They are doing so many things right, it’s hard to list everything I love about how they farm! From the hand harvested olives from old trees, to the non-chemical farming, to the oil being pressed within hours of picking!
And that all aside, the fact that it tastes so good? That’s the real clincher for me. And they are very reasonably priced as well. All in all, I am a big fan.
Recently, they started harvesting at different times as well as offering an mandarin infused olive oil. They sent me some samples to try out. My four year old, my husband, myself and my dad all enjoyed testing out their oils.
The mid season has a bit of a bite to it, yet is still exceptionally mild. The late season (my four year old’s favorite) is almost as mild as butter, and the mandarin is bursting with flavor! I can’t wait to make a salad dressing using it.
In fact while doing this taste test, we found my four year old’s new favorite snack! She now loves bread dipped into the late season olive oil with a drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar. Hurrah for yummy olive oil!
Chaffin Orchards agreed to send me some of their products to both try and keep in exchange for me posting again about their lovely olive oil. Thank you Chaffin Orchards for all that you do!
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“Our oil olives are harvested late in the season when the flavor is mild and buttery rather than sharp and grassy”.
Funny to read this Kimi as here in Greece where I live late-season olive is the cheapest of all!
The early-harvest oil (Agourelaion) is bright green thus full on antioxidants and it is only consumed at its raw state. But it is also rare (as unripe olives do not produce much oil) and extremely expensive. And I have to add that it is absolutely delicious!
I’m sure that if you google “Agourelaion” you’d find plenty of info.
Thanks for sharing! That’s very interesting. Perhaps because many us were raised on low flavor “bad” oils, like canola, it can be an adjustment to get used to the sharper olive oils. I’ve learned to enjoy them, but I have to admit that my favorite is still the buttery late season olive oil. In the Greece culture, do you ever make mayonnaise or aioli with olive oil? And if so, what type do you use?
Greeks always prefer the strong and tangy oil that comes from green olives (late-harvest oil comes from ripe black olives) and use it raw for everything, salad dressings, mayonnaise, dips, tzantziki etc.
It gives a nice fruity and peppery flavor to the dishers, and sometimes slight bitterness.
I personally do not use olive oil for cooking (I add it raw to the dish just before serving), but my mom who cooks traditional Greek dishes chooses a mildly-flavored olive oil for this purpose, just like the one you described.
However, the “yellow” olive oil lacks the antioxidants, polyphenols and vitamins of the early harvest oil.
Finally I’m surprised to see that the store you linked above sells their olive oil in clear glass bottles! It is something I have never seen here, we know that olive oil should always come in very dark glass bottles to protect it from light and heat.
Thanks for replying to my question! I love hearing about what is used in Greece. As far as the plastic bottles, I am not a fan of plastic at all. They do store their bottles in cool and dark place to protect the oil until it’s shipped out, so that’s good. I believe it’s because it would be so expensive to ship glass gallon sized jars out. They do sell their smaller bottles in dark glass.
Oh I didn’t realize that the bottle is plastic!
What a pity to sell such a quality product in plastic; perhaps you could suggest to them to use a dark-colored plastic at least to protect the oil from the light?
Or they could do what the Greek producers who sell their oil in bulk do, that is use metal (stainless-steel) tanks.
However they do advise to transfer the oil in dark glass bottles when we get home and store them in a cool place.
Actually, I just noticed that they do sell their oil not only in the small glass, dark bottles, but you can buy a box of them for a discount. So if plastic is a worry, there is an option for us. So that’s good too. 🙂
So with the Greek producers, do you bring your own container to fill with oil when it’s in the metal tank?
I guess that if you live in the country site nearby olive producers you could do so.
But here in Athens where I live I buy the oil in metal containers (they’ve got lots of different sizes) at my local farmers’ market.
I never re-use the tank as they’re difficult to wash and I’m afraid that there could be bacteria growing down at the bottom, but maybe I’m just being paranoid! 🙂
We also offer the gallons in tin containers. People can select tin from the drop down menu when purchasing.
Thanks Chris! I had no idea!
Is canola a bad oil? What makes it bad?
Canola is now often grown genetically modified, is generally highly refined, and has a higher omega 6 to 3 content, so it’s not an oil I personally use. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. I just bought some!! Can hardly wait to try making mayo. I hate the mayo I’ve made with olive oil in past. Miss Hellman’s.
Oh great! I hope that you enjoy it. We love it!
Straight from NT….
Canola Oil contains 5 percent saturated fat, 57 percent oleic acid, 23 percent omage-6 and 10-15 percent omega-3. The newest oil on the market, canola oil was developed from the rape seed, a member of the mustard family. Rape seed is considered unsuited to human consumption because it contains a long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions. Canola oil was bred to contain little if any erucic acid and has drawn the attention of nutritionist because of its high oleic-acid content. But there are some indications that canola oil presents dangers of its own. It has a high sulfur content and goes rancid easily. Baked goods made with canola oil develop mold very quickly. During the deodorizing process, the omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed into trans fatty acids, similar to those in margarine and possibly more dangerous. A recent study indicates that “heart healthy” canola oil usually creates a deficiency of vitamin E, a vitamin required for a healthy cardiovascular system. Other studies indicate that even low erucic acd canola oil causes heart lesions, particularly when the diet is also low in saturated fat.
Nourishing Traditions Revised Second Ed., Fallon, Sally p. 19-20
thanks Karen, what should I use in my baked goods instead of canola oil? I thought corn and vegetable oils were the more evil ones… I do have some coconut oil that I use at times, but it’s more expensive…
I use coconut oil, butter or peanut oil in my baking. But mostly I use coconut oil. I buy the semi-refined since I know I will be baking with it so I don’t buy raw for that and it helps keep the cost down.
There is a very good recipe for coconut oil mayonnaise over at Passionate Homemaking, it uses part olive and part coconut oil. I highly recommend it.
yes Passionate Homemakings recipe is very yummy, I love olive oil, but for some reason don’t care for the mayo with all olive oil, but do like the coconut oil for that. Thanks for the info on the Chaffin oil, nice to have good options & I just don’t trust the grocery store options!
Muriel and Sam,
I didn’t like mayo made out of olive oil at all until I tried making it with olive oil like this. Before that point, I also made mayonnaise out of a oil blend with coconut oil, sesame oil and olive oil. It’s a great way to get extra coconut oil in your diet. You can use that blend in my friend’s recipe here, which I love. However, I have to say that now that I’ve found such a mild olive oil, it’s just a lot simpler to make it with straight olive oil, and it’s now our favorite! I use the same recipe linked to above, but use olive oil. So good.
Is there a way to tell if the olive oil you buy form the store is 100%?
You can start by seeing if it solidifies in the refrigerator. That’s a start because if it doesn’t then you know for sure it isn’t pure. Part of the reason they have been so successful in scamming with olive oil is that they can make it taste and seem just like normal olive oil. 🙁
Kim, do they only sell it in the huge gallon size? I don’t use a lot of oil and I
afraid it would go rancid…. My family doesn’t eat mayo etc:)
Yes, they do sell it in smaller glass jars as well!
I got my first gallon of Chaffin’s oil the beginning of the year and I was surprised with the sharpness and bitterness of the taste. Am I just not used to the taste of “real” olive oil? I am Lebanese, and my family has always spent a bit to get good quality olive oil, so I am used to it having a strong flavor which I love. The bottle does have a light greenish hue, so I know it’s healthy and I am trying to get used to it, but I was a little disappointed after all the hype. For those that can’t afford Chaffins, Costco carries an organic olive oil which is very good, and has been tested and is a true 100% olive oil, something hard to find!
It sounds like you got an early pressing of their olive oil, which, like Evi was explaining to us up above, would be greenish with more tang. You can see from my bottles that they are very yellow (and therefore mild). If Evi is right, then you will get more antioxidants from that early pressing at least! 🙂
So, I hadn’t heard that Costco’s olive oil was tested? Where did you find that information?
I can’t find the article, but it cited the same FDA test you mentioned. Apparantely only Kirkland (Costco’s brand) Organic Extra-Virgin tested as all olive oil out of the premium brands they tested. But I’m definitely going to try some of Chaffin’s late season oil, can’t wait to be able to make my mayo out of olive oil! Can’t do that with the early season pressing…
I can’t find the article, but it cited the same FDA test you mentioned. Apparently only Kirkland (Costco’s brand) Organic Extra-Virgin tested as all olive oil out of the premium brands they tested. But I’m definitely going to try some of Chaffin’s late season oil, can’t wait to be able to make my mayo out of olive oil! Can’t do that with the early season pressing…
kim, we love this olive oil. its our favorite. we use it for everything. as soon as we get ours, we immediately pour it into glass jugs.
Now that I’m searching I can’t find the article, grrr! It was on several healthy foods blogs a while back and they cited a test done by the FDA (I know, I know, just the BEST informational source, lol) concerning popular brands of olive oil to see if they were in fact 100% olive oil. They tested all of those I find in my supermarket including the premium brands. The organic Kirkland brand (Costco’s brand) was one of the only national brands that passed the test. It has to be the organic variety though, Kirkland’s regular extr-virgin didn’t pass.
do you sell in large quanities, like 5 gal containers? How long does your oil keep?
I’m so jealous of the local olive oil. Too cold in the Northwest. I think some farmers offer it in Portland, Or. One farm near the Canadian border sells hazelnut oil, but they don’t put it in dark bottles, so I’m always a little nervous to buy too much of it. Great post.
Wow! I did not know any of this! How sad :(. But, how wonderful that some companies stay true. Thanks for sharing!
Wow! I did not know any of that. How sad :(. But how wonderful to know that some companies stay true. Thanks for sharing!
Here is the link to the olive oil study. Kirkland Organic EVOO is one of the few brands that passed the test.
Here is the link to the olive oil study. Kirkland Organic EVOO is one of the few that passed the test.
I tried to find your mayonnaise recipe and the link does not work for me. Is it me or your link? 🙂 How long does homemade mayonnaise last?
We went half with another family to try out their late harvest olive oil. We both could not be any happier with it. I will continue to buy my olive oil from them! With all that said, I do wish it was in a glass container but that is my only complaint. The taste of this olive oil is simple perfection.
I am very interested in ordering their oil! Thanks for this post, Kim. Do you know if tin containers are just as safe as glass in regards to oxidation?
I just recieved a gallon of the late harvest oil and was surprised at how bitter it is. i was expecting a very mild taste. could it be a bad batch, have you heard of this before? thanks.
I just received a gallon of the late harvest oil and was surprised at how bitter it is. i was expecting a very mild taste. could it be a bad batch, have you heard of this before? thanks.