Unrefined, USA Made, AND Affordable, Olive Oil Sources
Last week, my personal facebook popped up with one of those “view your memories posts” that showed a picture of all the oil in my kitchen (gross) as I declared to “the world” that I was giving up all refined oils as part of my 2015 New Years resolution. A task that at the time I thought would be impossible, as become so normal that I had to be reminded via facebook, that I used to have so many refined products. My lot of refined oils, was replaced nearly 100% by unrefined coconut oil and unrefined olive oil.
Occasionally grass-fed butter might sneak it’s way in there, and since we’re trying to be vegan, vegan butter, (but I doubt that’s unrefined so I try to use it even more sparingly than real butter). *Update: we’re all about Earth Balance Vegan Butter now 🙂
Search part 1:
I knew I wasn’t going to find “local” unrefined coconut oil (and I didn’t, I buy this one from Amazon) but I really wanted to try and find a “local” source for olive oil thanks to our long list of declarations of changes that you can read about HERE. By “local” I mean olive oil grown and made in the USA. To be honest, I actually had to Google if olive trees even grew in the USA, because I didn’t know. I found that California is a major producer of USA grown and made olive oil, followed by southern states like Georgia. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there are a lot of serious olive oil makers, much like some upscale vineyards, that produce and handle their product as one would a piece of fine art. Which means they are all both out of my affordability range, and probably not intended for day-to-day use anyway.
Search part 2:
Which olive oils were definitely unrefined? Did “extra virgin” and/or “cold-pressed” automatically mean “unrefined”? Finally I got some clarification from the California Olive Ranch via the following email response:
“Thank you for contacting us – so glad to tell you that all of our EVOO is unrefined. Our olive oil is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), 100% natural, unadulterated, cold pressed olive oil. To be considered EVOO, it must not be in any way adulterated. Our EVOO is certified by the COOC (California Olive Oil Council) and we proudly bear their emblem on the back label of our bottles. Due to a change in regulations for labeling, we no longer can list unrefined on our labels – because (unrefined) it is not considered an ingredient and was redundant, because it already says it is Extra Virgin Olive Oil – which of course is unrefined.”
Ah OK got it, extra virgin=unrefined and the description of “unrefined” is being taken off labels because it is considered redundant (something I have also noticed on coconut oil labels and was confused).
Finally after all the time spent hunting, I came up with just TWO sources of unrefined, cold-pressed, USA grown and made Olive Oil that’s affordable. Yes, they do cost more than what you would pay for some imported olive oils, and certainly more than refined oils, but they are far more affordable than other USA olive oil companies.
California Olive Ranch
Oddly, I found California Olive Ranch‘s unrefined extra virgin olive oil in Target before I noticed it in my local Giant Company grocery store. I see them more and more now so perhaps they have rapidly begun to gain popularity here on the east coast. I’ll double check next grocery trip but 500mL cost me about $7-8 here in Maryland. Sold in dark green tinted glass bottles up to 750mL. (You can also find it on Amazon for a similar price). They have a larger size but it’s in dark green tinted plastic. I love saving the bottles since I do a lot of essential oil mixes that benefit from being stored in the light-blocking bottle.
2. Trader Joe’s Brand
Sadly Trade Joe’s has yet to come to western Maryland and they don’t have online ordering. I found their California unrefined olive oil while visiting family. So in Connecticut 500mL was $5.99. Their extra virgin olive oil also comes in a green tinted glass bottle. I think they carried one size larger too. In general I think Trader Joe’s is an amazing store. If you live near one I am jealous, and if you’ve never been but have the opportunity, you should definitely check them out. *Update: You can also find it on Amazon, but the price looks to be double.
Have you found another USA grown and made, unrefined olive oil company that you use for everyday cooking needs? If so, please share in the comments below!
Hi there! I’m Kaley, prevailing parent and wife, but also just me; stubborn lover of DIY everything, outdoors, and chocolate. Read more about myself and my family under the “Parenting” > “About My Family” tabs.