One day while walking past a new culinary boutique boasting organic olive oil that we began to wonder: How many chemicals have been soaking our dipped ciabatta?
One reason why many of us have remained uninformed about organic olive oil is the lack of information on it. Google the phrase “organic olive oil” and the search results primarily yield product pitches, not facts or science. Customer feedback only adds to the confusion, with many reviewers making claims about either the advantages or “false hype” around organic oils without citing sources.
More thorough research, however, sheds some light on the benefits of organic olive oil, grown almost entirely in Europe and California, and the disadvantages of its conventional opposite. One thing made immediately clear: Like most organic farming, the certification process for olive oil is strict, while virtually nonexistent for conventionally produced oil. Additionally, chemicals easily penetrate the rather delicate olive and, according to one organic farmer in Malta, can’t be completely removed with washing or peeling.
But the primary concern around non-organic olive oil is the damage its production and farming can cause the environment. The above-mentioned farmer also pointed out that in addition to being ineffective in removing chemicals, washing non-organic olives feeds pesticides used to treat it into sewers and, subsequently, large bodies of water. And, much like corporate farming has done to the U.S. landscape, large-scale olive oil agriculture has come close to devastating Europe’s.
We farm all of our olives in an organic method and are not yet “Certified” organic, but do follow those organic methods of farming.