Answers to our most commonly asked questions. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
Who is ralo?
We are a small family business in existence since 2001: a brother- and sister-in-law. Robert was born in Greece, grew up in Canada and is a Certified Professional Olive Oil Sommelier. Deborah is a university chemistry graduate and a certified high school teacher who has been part of ralo since our first day at St. Jacobs Market in 2002. We source our own products and sell only our own products under our own ralo brand.
Where are you located?
We are based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Our primary place of business is our outdoor booth at St. Jacobs Farmers Market in north Waterloo, Saturdays only, from May to October.
Where can I buy your oils?
You can buy our oils through our online store and can choose to do a Local Pickup in the Kitchener-Waterloo area or to have it shipped to you anywhere in Canada. You can visit the St. Jacobs Farmers Market in Waterloo, Ontario on Saturdays from May to October. There are also several retailers in our local area that carry our products.
Where does your oil come from?
100% from the Peloponisos region of southern Greece. The areas of Messinia, Argolida, and Lakonia, three of the premier olive oil producing regions of Greece and the world.
What other products do you offer?
We also have naturally cured olives, wild herbs and teas, handmade certified organic olive oil soap and balsamic vinegar. Each and all are of the finest quality. If we don’t love the product, we don’t sell it.
What is the difference between organic and non-organic oil?
It has to do with differences in fertilization, weed control and insect control. Organic groves are fertilized with free-roaming goat and sheep manure whereas non-organic groves tend to be fertilized with synthetic fertilizers. In organic groves the weeds are ploughed into the soil to provide nutrients for the roots whereas non-organic groves are sprayed with toxic herbicides. Insect control in organic groves is achieved by hanging sticky paper in the trees or hanging plastic bottles with sugar water that attracts the insects. Non-organic groves are sprayed with insecticides. Spraying for insecticides is mandatory in high-cultivation areas for all non-organic trees.
Why does your oil cost more than other oils?
It doesn't. Premium olive oils range in price from $25-$50 or more for 500 mL. We are at the low end of the price range for high quality oils. We know the growers, their groves, the specific olive press and the harvesting and pressing dates which we frequently witness personally. Our oils are 100% from Greece and produced meeting the highest technical quality criteria which we re-verify every year.
With mass-market oils, you get what you pay for. Many such oils have a retail price that is lower than what the growers are receiving when they sell their oil at the press. Also, mass-market brands consist of vastly different quality oils blended and processed to achieve a consistent flavour profile that is a long way from the natural taste of the highest quality oils in any particular year. The true origin of the oil is either not disclosed, unknown, or misleadingly described as “Product of ….” which is merely the place where the oil was packaged. It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine who, what, when or where, or what exactly it is that you are buying.
How can I get your olive oil for less?
Buy our oils in 5 Litre tins, for a 50% saving over buying it by the bottle. Save a further 16% by pre-ordering during our annual “Harvest Fresh” pre-order promotion which runs for 10 days sometime in February to April. If you buy in volume inquire for even more savings.
How long will your olive oil keep?
Our oils are at their peak in terms of flavour intensity and nutrients in the first 12-18 months after pressing. The pressing date is noted on every label of ralo oil. While we offer "just-pressed" oils every year, our oils keep longer than 18 months and up to several years if properly stored. We once opened an "archived" bottle more than 4 years after the day we watched it being pressed and though its flavour was diminished it was still delicious and not at all rancid.
Is the pressing date and olive varieties shown on your label?
Yes, every bottle of ralo shows this information. In many cases and in some years in every case, we were present when the olives were harvested or when they were pressed, or both. When we are not present we ask to see the pressing reports from the Olive Press. That's how we know.
How should I use my olive oil?
See the video below on olive oil usage.
How should olive oil be stored?
Store your olive oil in a cool, dark place away from sources of heat and light, and without drastic temperature fluctuations. The cupboard is fine. A cold cellar or basement with stable cool temperature is ideal.
Should I keep my olive oil in the fridge?
Refrigeration is not recommended as the oil tends to lose flavour and be less vibrant, even after it returns to room temperature. Only refrigerate your oil if you will not use it for several months.
Why are your oils unfiltered?
To keep their integrity. As it left the olive, that’s how it gets to you. Filtering removes olive fruit particles that give olive oil more flavour, aroma and more nutrients. Beyond any doubt, unfiltered olive oils have significantly more flavour and aroma than filtered olive oils. Unfiltered oils leave sediment at the bottom of the bottle and more sediment at the bottom of each tin. This is why we recommend that the bottle or tin be inverted back and forth several times to evenly distribute the olive fruit particles, nutrients, flavours and aromas so as to spread the goodness to every drop.
I prefer olive oil that is green in colour, is your olive oil green?
Some are and some aren't. Natural olive oil ranges in colour from a golden yellow to a neon green as you can see from the above photo of seven just-pressed oils. Our oils vary in colour from grower to grower and from year to year, but we always keep each in its natural colour. Since many consumers are known to be positively influenced by the green colour some olive oil marketers add green pigments to satisfy these consumers and to increase sales. We don't. You will see only the natural colour of the oil.
What is the meaning of the words “raw juice of the olive” on your labels?
We coined this phrase. Our oils are pressed at truly cold temperatures so that the oil remains “raw” and in optimal condition for health. Most olive presses use too much heat during extraction and so “cook” the oil, causing it to lose valuable vitamins, nutrients, flavours and aromas. Our oil is the “raw juice of the olive”. Eating your extra-virgin olive oil raw, with no heat applied, is the best way of maximizing the healthful nutrients and vitamins it has to offer: this means sipping, bread dipping, salad dressing or drizzling onto your steamed vegetables.
Who and what am I supporting when I buy ralo products?
- US and YOU - we get sales and you get a super-premium quality olive oil at a reasonable price
- your family's health and taste buds since you will be eating healthier and more delicious food
- small scale family farms so they can continue growing organically and survive against industrial producers
- the environment as more organic cultivation means fewer pesticides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers on the earth, in our foods and in us
- an economically hard-hit country and its farmers who bear an unfair share of the risks from climate change affecting our food supply
- ethical and fair practices in growing, importation and sale of real olive oil that retains its integrity