After buying some Greek “extra virgin” olive oil at a supermarket in New York City, I wondered why it tasted absolutely nothing like what my family produced in Greece. That was the start of my journey in learning that not all olive oils are created equal and that while all olive oil is healthy and a good source of monounsaturated fat, when harvested early and milled properly, olive oil can be an incredible source of very potent antioxidant-rich polyphenols that have been proven to reduce the risk of chronic disease. True EVOO has a naturally occurring compound that literally acts like medicine, and you can smell and taste the freshness. In 2016, my husband Kostas and I set out to bring just that to the US market from our ancestral home in Greece.
Kosterina olive oil is made from 100% Koroneiki olives grown in the Peloponnese region of Greece. Koroneiki is the most popular varietal in Greece and literally means "of Koroni", which is the name of the town where my family comes from.
Our farmers use organic farming practices and harvest our olives when they are still green and unripe – called “agourelio” in Greek. When you squeeze a ripe olive, lots of juice comes out. When you squeeze a green olive, the yield is much lower. It takes 12 pounds of unripe, green olives to make just one 500mL bottle of Kosterina.
When it is time to harvest, we lay large, rectangular nets under the trees and use slender, hand-held poles about the size of a broom handle to gently loosen the olives allowing them to fall into the nets below. The olives are cold pressed the same day they are picked in order to maximize flavor, freshness, and polyphenol content.
The end result of an early harvest olive oil is incredible – both in its taste and health benefits.
By harvesting early, we are able to preserve the antioxidant-rich polyphenol content that has been proven to reduce inflammation, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, improve the health of your arteries, slow the aging process, reduce the risk of all chronic disease, and even aid in fighting some cancers. Now that’s what you call an ancient ingredient with modern superpowers.
In order to be deemed extra virgin, an olive oil needs to have at least 55 mg/kg of polyphenol content. Kosterina EVOO always has at least 400 mg/kg of polyphenol content at the time of harvest.
Unlike many olive oils you can find in stores in the US, Kosterina EVOO is always from this year’s harvest and made from pure, single-varietal early harvest olives. Our commitment to quality and transparency in sourcing is our guarantee to you that you will receive the freshest Greek EVOO available – and we know you’ll taste the difference.
Fresh, high-quality EVOO, like Kosterina, will smell and taste different than what you are probably used to cooking with. Quality EVOO should smell like fresh grass, fruit, or vegetables and reveal more fruit and vegetable flavors as you swirl it around your mouth and taste it. High-polyphenol EVOO will have a peppery sensation at the back of your throat when you swallow it that, if it’s the really good stuff, may even make you cough.
Kosterina has an aromatic, light yet rich fruity flavor with a buttery finish that never overpowers a dish and, of course, delivers our signature peppery sensation.