The most popular way to buy extra virgin olive oil is through supermarkets, however more and more people are choosing to buy directly from producers, mills or farms.
Let's analyze the reasons for this choice, the resulting advantages and the best ways to do it.
What are the advantages of buying extra virgin olive oil directly from the producer?
There are countless reasons behind the purchase of extra virgin olive oil directly from mills or farms, but there are undoubtedly some advantages that drive many to make this choice:
Best value for money
The various steps in which a product passes through large-scale retail trade (GDO) up to the supermarket shelf, involve the application of various profit margins, the last of which is the one applied by the supermarket itself.
By purchasing directly from the producers, all these margins will not be applied and therefore will not fall on the final consumer. In this way, the purchased product will generally have a higher quality/price ratio than the one purchased through large-scale distribution channels.
Certainty on the origin of the oil
Buying directly from producers, especially if small producers, also means being more sure that the oil is obtained from local olives and according to Italian and European regulations, therefore not from lots of dubious origin; however, it is important to always check the bottle label, making sure that the product is 100% Italian. Italy produces high quality oil, with health and organoleptic properties on average higher than foreign or non-EU oils.
Buy new oil, just produced
A further advantage of purchasing extra virgin olive oil directly from the producer is the possibility of purchasing a definitely new product, freshly processed and packaged. The oil purchased directly from the mill, preferably from a small producer, it is certainly "new" , in fact, unlike wine which improves with age, oil loses most of its properties over 18 months.
In summary, the main advantages of buying oil from the manufacturer are:
- Best value for money
- Certainty of 100% Italian origin
- New and fresher product;
To these we can also add:
- support for the local economy
- support for environmental sustainability .
Where to buy extra virgin olive oil directly from the producer?
If you want to buy extra virgin olive oil directly from the producer, you have various options for doing so:
- You can buy it by going to an oil mill , Italy is dotted with oil mills, smaller and artisanal and larger and industrial, mainly in central-southern Italy but also in many areas of northern Italy.
- Another way to buy oil from the producer is to go to farmers' markets or sector fairs , where small producers put their products directly on sale.
- Probably the most convenient and simple way to buy oil directly from the producer is to buy it online on the e-commerce website of an oil mill or a farm, in this way the oil from the producer arrives directly at your home.
When to buy extra virgin olive oil in the mill?
Generally it is possible to buy extra virgin olive oil from the producer throughout the year, however depending on the time of year there may be different conditions to take advantage of.
During the milling period: the new and unfiltered oil
In Italy, the olive harvest period runs from October to late December. In this period of the year the mills are producing new or "novello" oil, which has particular characteristics: decisive aromas, high content of natural antioxidants, an intense fruity flavour. Often the "new" oil has not yet been filtered by the producer, therefore it has micro-particles in suspension making the product unique, denoting its absolute freshness.
To have a chance to taste this unique product, you need to shop during this time of year.
Between December and January: a more stable oil
Immediately after harvesting and processing the olives, the producers proceed to filter the oil, or alternatively let it decant, i.e. they wait for the solid particles contained in the oil to settle on the bottom of the containers in which the oil is stored. This part of the production process is used to make the oil more stable and keep longer.
Purchasing extra virgin olive oil in this period ensures the achievement of a fresh and stable product which, if well preserved, can maintain its organoleptic characteristics for over 18 months from purchase; it's the best time to stock up for your next year's pantry.
In summer: take advantage of the convenience
During the summer, oil mills and oil producers often have an interest in emptying their warehouses of the oil from the previous year's oil campaign, to make room for the new oil arriving in September/October; especially when the previous year's campaign was very productive.
In these cases it is not difficult to come across special offers, in which it is possible to buy extra virgin olive oil at very advantageous prices.