What a fun and awesome learning experience we had at Fresh Harvest! The owners of Fresh Harvest, Troy Johnson and Steve Ketchersid, are extremely knowledgeable about olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Sydney and I left their store with a completely new view of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
Fresh Harvest has a tasting room and you can take a free tasting tour. There are over 80 items to taste and explore. These oils and vinegars come from organic farmers around the world. This tour is not only a lot of fun, but the information that Troy and Steve shared with us was a big eye opener.
To start with…an olive is a fruit, not a vegetable. Good to know! 🙂
There are different grades of olive oil as defined by the European Olive Oil Council. There are only 3 categories that are fit for human consumption. They are as follows:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is the highest quality rating for an olive oil. It must have a free acidity percentage of less
than 0.8 and conform to all the standards listed in its category.
Virgin Olive Oil: This is the second highest quality rating for an olive oil. It must have a free acidity percentage of
less than 2.0 to 2.5 and conform to all the standards listed in its category.
Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil: This is the lowest quality rating for an olive oil. It must have a free acidity percentage of
less than 3.3 and conform to all the standards listed in its category.
IMPORTANT: Just because a bottle of olive oil at your grocery store or market says it is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, does not mean it is! Check the acidity percentages!
There are so many different tastes and infused flavors of olive oils. The more robust (stronger) the flavor of the olive oil, the higher the biophenol content. Biophenols have been gaining a lot of health and scientific attention due to their antioxidative potential.
We had such fun tasting and trying the different olive oils and balmasic vinegars. What was really neat was blending the different oils and vinegars to make up unique flavors. This was interesting because Sydney and I really liked some of the same combinations and then we differed on others.
The oils and vinegars are perfect in salads or for a stir fry. Breads, potatoes, grilling and so much more. The sky is the limit and so are the flavor combinations!
One of my personal favorite combinations was the Toasted Sesame Olive Oil and the Honey Ginger White Balsamic Vinegar. Stir fry your meat in the oil and then toss your meat and veggies with the balsamic vinegar at the end. Delicious! Can’t wait to try this combination in a stir fry!
Another personal favorite combination was the Baklouti Green Chile Pepper Olive Oil and the Pineapple White Balsamic Vinegar. Can’t wait to try this combo when I grill this spring and summer!
They offer gift sets. So I purchased the Tropical Gift Package which has three oils and three vinegars to go along with a few bottles that I selected. This will make experimenting so much fun! Mix and match and try new combinations. How much fun will this be?
Troy and Steve are great at helping you choose what combinations are great with fish, chicken and beef. They can let you know which ones are awesome for baking and grilling. They are truly a wealth of knowledge and are so creative. Along with learning so much, Sydney and I had a blast talking with these guys and trying the different oils and vinegars!
This was another really fun thing that we tried. Popcorn sampling! They carry Butter Olive Oil that pairs so well with popcorn. It was really good. Completely dairy free! Perfect for that person who is dairy intolerant! It even comes in a little gift package. So cute!
Fresh Harvest is located at 512 Village Circle, Eureka Springs, AR. Stop in, check them out and take a tasting tour. Or you can also purchase online. Their motto is “Eat Healthy. Eat Delicious.” and it truly sums up who they are! 🙂
Fresh Harvest offers gift certificates also. Perfect for that someone in your life who loves to cook and grill!
As we make recipes using our new olive oils and balsamic vinegars, we will make sure and share them with you. As you have figured out by now, we love to cook, bake and eat! Watch for some of these recipes in upcoming posts.
As always have an awesome day!