With the olive harvest fully underway, olive oil is on our minds these days. Our oil is made in the Tuscan style and is considered “New World Tuscan”.
There are hundreds of olive oils available in the United States from both domestic and international sources. Each olive oil will have its own flavor that is determined by how the olives were grown, the varietal make up, when they were harvested, and how they were pressed or processed. Within all of this variance there are roughly 19 different styles of oil that are the most common.
Tuscan style oils are aromatic with a bright, fruity flavor up front followed by grassy undertones that have a bit of a bite or spice. The predominant variety of olive used in the most famous Tuscan blend oils in Italy is the Frantoio, which is harvested early in order to capture the majority of the harvest before the frost. The Frantoio olives are harvested fairly “green”, which is to say, under ripe. The greenness of this va riety of olive is what gives Tuscan oils their strong, bright, grassy flavor and bright green color. To balance the pungency of the green harvested olives, the Tuscans use a variety called Leccino that matures earlier as a blend. Blending this riper olive with the greener is what helps mellow and add complexity to the flavor of the oil.
To achieve our New World Tuscan style olive oil we have several different varieties of olives planted. Each variety has specific flavor profile that we favor and Farmer Al is constantly playing with the harvest times of our olives to achieve a harmonious and delicious balance of flavor in our oil. Last year he started our harvest a week earlier than the previous year in an effort to achieve “greener” oil. We were very happy with the results. We are very much looking forward to sampling the first pressing of the 2013 crop!
For those of you eager to see more, check out Happy Child CSA’s Facebook Page to watch the video we made of our 2013 olive press!