Frequently Asked Questions
AY(EYE)-va-co. Our name is a celebration of Ayvalik, the small Mediterranean port town where our products are sourced and our founder is born and raised. In Ayvalik, fresh extra virgin olive oil is an essential and accessible product that defines the town's history and culture.
Many of us might consider olive oil to be a “cupboard staple” that we open and use occasionally over many months, (or even years!). The truth is, once opened, olive oil spoils just like any fresh food. An unopened bottle of fresh olive oil will stay fresh for about 18 months. Once opened, your bottle should be consumed within a few weeks to retain peak flavor and health benefits. Over time, olive oil naturally goes stale and loses both.
The moment an olive drops from the tree, the decomposition process starts, which is why it is essential that olive oil be cold processed within hours of harvesting to ensure freshness, flavor, and quality. If the flavor and freshness of the oil you use currently does not seem to fade over time, it’s likely the oil was poorly produced or was already spoiled when purchased.
All producers know that freshness matters for olive oil taste and quality, but many brands do not indicate the harvest date or where exactly the olives in the bottle were grown. Our oil comes only from our family and partners' groves in the bay area of Ayvalik-Edremit, and we list the harvest date on every bottle, so you know what you are getting, every time you buy.
Extra virgin is the highest grade of olive oil. It is the top-most grade of the “virgin” category of oils that are unadulterated and never chemically or heat refined. Extra virgin oil retains the flavor and health benefits of the olive fruit more than oil that has been refined or blended with refined oils. Legally, extra virgin olive oil must have a free fatty acidity of less than 0.8 grams per 100 grams. Anything more cannot legally use the extra virgin label and may also taste flat, stale, or oily. One clear indicator of a fresh evoo is a “clean mouth” feel. Poorly produced olive oils and refined vegetable oils leave behind a cloying, oily taste in the mouth.
Most of the oils consumed in the United States today are highly refined with heat and chemical processing. Unless a bottle explicitly says "cold pressed" or "cold extracted" on the label, the vegetable (soybean), canola seed, or olives in the bottle were likely heated to a high temperature and/or dissolved in an industrial solvent (typically hexane) to separate the plant matter from the oil. This complex process produces oils that must then be bleached and deodorized to be palatable. These oils are cheap to produce and cheap on the grocery store shelf, but lack the antioxidants and natural compounds found in unrefined, "virgin" olive oil proven to be good for us.
Ayvaco is 100% extra virgin olive oil - never processed with heat or chemicals - simply crushed and spun from the olive fruit before going into the bottle.
At Ayvaco we ask - if cooking with oil, why not chose one that is never chemically or heat refined, is full of antioxidants, and enhances the flavors in your meals completely naturally?
Although not yet officially certified as organic, our family is committed to only organic agricultural practices and we go to great lengths to ensure our partners do too. Our family’s olive groves are fertilized only with sheep manure and we never, ever use chemical pesticides or herbicides. Our partners press our olives seasonally with absolutely no heat or chemical extraction; our modern oil press simply crushes and spins the olives via centrifuge to separate the oil from the water and pulp.
Ayvaco is grown, milled, and bottled in Ayvalik-Edremit, a quiet seaside bay on the Aegean coast of Turkey where our co-founder was born and raised. Olive oil production has defined the town and region for centuries, with hundreds of small family producers growing and milling their own olive oil. Our family grows our olives in our own fields in Ayvalik, and in partnership with other families practicing organic farming methods, has the olives milled in small batches every fall to control quality.
Much of the olive oil in the market is a blend of oils from different harvest years, different countries, and different producers. We believe single-sourced oil from the most recent harvest year is the freshest, and we hope you taste the difference when you try Ayvaco for the first time.
Of course! Legally and by definition, all extra virgin olive oil is the result of the first pressing of olives with no heat or chemical extraction.