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5 Reasons to Buy Artisan.

Thomas Jefferson said “the olive tree is surely the richest gift from heaven” and along with wine and books, olive oil is a “necessity of life”. We couldn’t agree more. 200 years later, we are also sure that he would be rolling over in his grave if he could see what has happened to present day commercial olive oil.  It is not just that we have a romantic view of the past, in fact with advancements in technology, small batch Artisan produced oil has moved firmly into the future. And is still better. Much better. Here are 5  reasons why:

1. It is better for your health. Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains Vitamin E and is chock full of powerful antioxidants (polyphenols) if and only if it is produced with healthy olives, at the right time in the maturation cycle, immediately after harvesting, if it is packaged and transported in a controlled environment and consumed when it is fresh. Or in other words, when it is produced using artisan practices.

2. It is better for the earth. Artisan oil is produced from trees that are sometimes upwards of 300 years old. The farmers care for the trees with a tenderness and attention that most people reserve for their children. On the other hand, Industrial grade olive oil is produced with what they call Intensive or Super-Intensive farming and the trees are destroyed and replaced every 10 years.

3. It tastes better. Do a quick google search for olive oil competitions and you will find that not one of the brands that you normally see on your supermarket shelf is ever represented among the winners. They don’t even participate. But why does Artisan taste better? Whether it is made from a single olive type or a blend of 2 or 3, Artisan oils have distinct flavour profiles. All fresh Artisan evoo has some degree of fruitiness, pepperiness and bitterness but beyond that you will find notes of artichoke, freshly cut grass, green tomato or even banana. Commercial oils are blended from oils not just from different regions but from different nations all together with the objective of dumbing down the flavour profile to a very nice and very consistent bland blah.

4. It is better for your peace of mind. It is fair to say that most people today want to know where their food comes from. Not just in terms of location but who it is that actually produced it. That is the real essence of Artisan. If commercial grade oils were a math equation it would be something like this: 3+1+1=0. What it means is: if an oil is blend of products coming from 3 different nations, if it is bottled in another location and distributed in yet another, the end result is zero accountability. It just doesn’t add up.

5. It is better for the community. In Italy alone there are well over 6000 independent frantoio or olive mills. For the most part they are run by families that have been producing oils that are representative of their terroir for hundreds of years.  It is not just a matter of jobs, it is a matter of culture.

Can you think of other reasons why artisan olive oil and artisan products in general are better? We would love to hear your thoughts.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tricia #

    Should the Artisan Reserve Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil have sediment in the bottom?

    March 25, 2013
    • g&t #

      Hi Tricia,

      If the oil you are speaking about was unfiltered, there could be sediment on the bottom. The “unfiltered” bits after time drop to the bottom and create the sediment. It doesn’t mean it isn’t artisan or that is wasn’t extra virgin when it was bottled but sediment is a sign the oil is older.

      April 23, 2013
  2. Ruth Allard #

    Today I bought a bottle of Artisan Reserve EV Olive Oil at my local grocery store. On the from it says “Spain”, on the back “Product of Spain”. “It is better for the community. In Italy alone there are well over 6000 independent frantoio or olive mills. For the most part they are run by families that have been producing oils that are representative of their terroir for hundreds of years. It is not just a matter of jobs, it is a matter of culture.” Is this from Spain or Italy!!!!

    May 3, 2013
    • g&t #

      Hi Ruth, “artisan” is a style of production not a brand – it means it is produced in small batches, the olives are picked, processed and bottled in one location (not transported 100s or even 1000s of miles). Artisan oils can be found in Italy, Greece, Spain and really any olive oil producing nation. You can identify these oils by the amount of information regarding their origin on the label. In other words, not just country, but region, village AND address. I have no doubt that your oil is Made in Spain, I might doubt that it is “artisan” though…

      May 3, 2013

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