We keep running across website claims that extra virgin olive oil must be less than a year old to be fresh (often promoted by suppliers of imported oils from the southern hemisphere). Well, we wanted to put our oils to the test and see how they held up against that claim, so we sent last year’s Mistral and a two and half year old Sierra that had been opened for two weeks to the lab for analysis. The results just came back. Both oils still easily passed all the tests for extra virginity, and to boot, retained very high levels of antioxidants:
Mistral milled in December 2013
0.2% fatty acid
537 ppm antioxidants, only a 4% decrease since its initial testing
Sierra milled in December 2012, and open for two weeks
0.25% fatty acid
684 ppm antioxidants, only a 10% decrease since its initial testing
These results are so remarkable they even surprised us. Our oils start out with such high levels of antioxidants, it seems they are just about impervious to oxidation and aging. The antioxidants protect the oil like they protect our bodies.
It is the season when the results of the international olive oil competitions are announced. 500 olive oils were entered into the Los Angeles International Competition and only 298 received any kind of medal. There, our Mistral won a Gold medal and was also the Best In Class and our Sierra won a Silver medal. Of the 700 entries in the New York International Competition only 233 oils received medals. There, the Mistral won a Gold medal and was also the Best in Class and the Sierra also won a Gold Medal.
Our Mistral was the only oil to be awarded Best in Class in both the New York and Los Angeles competitions. It was also the only domestic oil to be awarded Best In Class in New York. Certainly, we thought these oils were excellent even before getting these enthusiastic results. Anyway, we are very pleased to see our efforts of producing top quality oils so highly awarded.
Both the Mistral and the Sierra are extremely rich in antioxidants (837 and 972 ppm respectively), which is way above the average compared to other good extra virgin oils.
This confirms our belief that it is possible to make olive oils that are very beneficial for our health and also have great flavor.
In addition, this year we produced five Gold Series mono varietal oils, of about 50 gallons each, that are equally excellent and especially rich in antioxidants (from 795 to 1,017 ppm).
Apollo Olive Oil will be tasting oils along with Renaissance Vineyard and Grant and Eddie wineries this weekend at the North Sierra Wine Trail. It features 11 different wineries offering an eclectic assortment of wines along the back roads of the North Sierra. There will be varied events along with the tastings at the different wineries including olive oil, delicious appetizers, music, art, and more.
Pre-sale tickets are $20 at www.northsierrawinetrail.com where you can also view the map and all the wineries that are participating.
Every year Biol International in Bari Italy holds a competition for the world’s best organic olive oils. This year the Sierra and Mistral both won Extra Gold medals and the Sierra won the best organic olive oil in the US. Extra Gold medal winners are oils that score especially high in the blind tasting.
This year, because there are so many competitions, we are focusing our entires on the international competitions and the new California State Fair competition. Our goal is not to try to win every possible award but to show well in those competitions where we are going up against the world’s best oils. We are only entering the Sierra and Mistral in competitions this year because our Gold Series oils are made in very small batches and often do not meet the volume requirements.
The limited supplies of our current oils, harvested and milled in December 2013, are now on sale for only $16.95, first come first served. All these mature oils are still showing well – with good aromas, flavors, and a softer finish than in their youth. In a recent blind tasting, our Sierra compared favorably with a fresh, extra virgin “olio nuovo” from another producer – needless to say, we were pleased.
Although we hope you will enjoy our oils right away, they are known for their long life. Our oils stay fresher longer than other extra virgin olive oils because they start with such healthy, high levels of antioxidants, giving them on-going protection against aging. In the past we have retested our year-old oils, and the reduction of antioxidants over the months was only 5%. Another confirmation comes from research Dr. Prokopios Magiatis conducted on the polyphenol levels of US-made oils, published last year. The year-old oils he tested were bought off supermarket shelves; our Sierra included. The total polyphenol content of our oil was higher than every other oil in the experiment, and the results for some particular polyphenols were the highest he had ever recorded.
Dr. Gary Beauchamp is making the rounds these days speaking about his discovery of the oleocanthal molecule that he found in olive oil a short ten years ago. The discovery, like many great discoveries, was an accident. As a sensory chemist he was searching for a way to improve the taste of ibuprofen when he experienced an olive oil tasting. To his surprise he tasted something in the olive oil that had similarities to the taste of ibuprofen. Further research revealed he had discovered the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory molecule, oleocanthal. Wonderfully, this molecule in olive oil does not have the side effects of ibuprofen. Beauchamp found that oleocanthal can help remove proteins that are the main component of amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer patients. This story reveals that we are still in the early stages of discovering all the great benefits of olive oil that, intuitively, the Mediterranean has known about for thousands of years.
Harvest is in full swing and the outlook for great antioxidant numbers, wonderful aromas, and nuanced flavors is very promising. However there is one exception, for the first time the Barouni crop did not produce sufficient fruit to create a Barouni varietal for next year. This means that once we sell out of this year’s Barouni we will not have it again until 2016. So all you Barouni lovers may want to stock up.
This happenstance is not unusual in the uncertain world of farming. This year the crop of Italy’s highest quality region of Tuscany is down 50% due to unseasonably high temperatures during bloom, unusually wet weather during the growing season encouraging the olive fly, and an unexpected early hail storm during the harvest season. Accordingly bulk prices from Italy are up 50%. Unfortunately, the hardest hit farms were the small high quality producers. For all of you who enjoy buying high quality Italian imported extra virgin olive oil be sure you are getting the real thing this coming year, it will be much more expensive than this past year.
Luckily, we do not anticipate any increases in our prices this coming year.
The Harvard School of Public Health held their “Mediterranean Diet and Workplace Health” conference on September 27 and 28 with attendees from all over the world. One focus was the role healthy fats play in the Mediterranean diet and in particular real extra virgin olive oil. Researchers said they identified two previously unknown polyphenols for the first time while testing Apollo Olive Oil’s array of polyphenols. More research needs to be done to discover what role these two new polyphenols play but it points to the abundance of polyphenols found in Apollo Olive Oil.
The researchers further found that polyphenols were much more effective at reducing LDL oxidation working as a whole rather than working alone. This illustrates that whole foods work more synergistically to produce beneficial effects than extracts of ‘active’ ingredients.
The researchers are trying to develop a simple, quick, and inexpensive test to identify olive oils with high polyphenol levels. One reason for this is that consumers are starting to ask for high polyphenol oils more frequently even though these oils are a bit more bitter and pungent. This is good news for us because we base our entire approach on the healthiest oil is also the best tasting.
14th Annual North Yuba Harvest Festival
Once again we are proud to sponsor this year’s harvest festival on September 27th and 28th, 10am to 4pm. It will be held at the Alcouffe Community Center at 9185 Marysville Rd., Oregon House, CA 95962. This is the biggest food and wine event in the North Yuba foothills.
North Yuba has received international recognition as a premium wine and olive oil region with local producers garnering coveted medals at major state, national and international competitions.
There will be over 60 vendors this year, including food stalls offering everything from haute cuisine to hot dogs, arts & crafts, antiques, Farmers Market, coffee bistro, and live musical entertainment. Ample children’s activities guarantee a day of family fun.
We hope to see you there!
One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to use extra virgin olive oil is to drizzle it over cooked vegetables. Not only does it improve the taste of vegetables but it also improves our ability to absorb the vitamins and antioxidants found in them.
Well there is more good news. A recent study published in the journal PNAS found drizzling extra virgin olive oil over vegetables that contain nitrites forms nitro fatty acids. Vegetables that contain nitrites are mainly the green leafy types like spinach, wild greens and root vegetables. Nitro fatty acids are known to inhibit an enzyme that contributes to high blood pressure. This is a good example of how whole foods and healthy diets work together to promote good health.