Nothing like the real thing baby. The incredible case for Early Harvest Olive Oil.

Nothing like the real thing baby. The incredible case for Early Harvest Olive Oil.

Authentic early harvest olive oil (EHOO) can be difficult to find and is almost always more expensive than traditionally harvested olive oils. Farmers are not in a rush to process unripe olives because they produce much less oil and require labor intensive handpicking directly from the tree. This begs the question: why bother with EHOO at all? 

The answer, in short, is in the fact that the taste and health qualities of EHOO are vastly superior to conventional olive oil. Many gourmands and foodies are discovering the taste of EHOO (characterized by a multifaceted and lingering flavor of bitter, pepper, and fresh-cut grass) to be much exciting and to their liking than traditional olive oils. This simple fact has put authentic EHOO — when it can be found — in high demand in the gourmet restaurants of Italy, the USA, and England in recent years.

 A second major fact, and one I find just as appealing, is that EHOO has some very special health qualities. EHOO is packed with the antioxidants that have made olive oil famous for it’s protective effects again degenerative arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. The major difference between EHOO and traditional olive oil? EHOO has 4 to 6 times the number of these important antioxidants.

Oleocanthal, a polyphenol and antioxidant indicated against heart disease, degenerative arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, is rife in EHOO. The same goes for oleuropein, another important polyphenol.

Do all olive oils contain oleocanthal and oleuropein? The answer is no. One article from University Health News (UHN) suggests oils vary hugely in their polyphenol content and some oils contain none at all. If you’re looking for health benefits, your best bet (and what we and the UHN both suggest) is to either stick to authentic EHOO or to drop your olive oil ambitions altogether. Go big or go home.

Some other useful tips from UHN for choosing a healthy oil:

  • Oil should be bottled in dark glass or other containers that protect against light.
  • To ensure freshness, look for bottles with a date of harvest, or at least a “best by” date. Try  to buy oils only from this year’s harvest. Also use bottles within six months of opening.
  •  Avoid oils whose precise point of production – a specific mill – is not specified on the label.


Find out how to order world-class, Croatian EHOO from the Island of Hvar at