East Asian Olive Oils Reach the World Stage

As extra virgin olive oil culture slowly expands in China and Japan, high-quality production in two of the world’s largest economies does too.

Since 2015, the number of Japanese producers participating in the NYIOOC has steadily grown, with their results reflecting a significant interest in olive oil in the country.

Japanese view olive oil, particularly extra virgin, as healthy, though many believe all types suffice," says Yuko Iwado, Nippon Olive's head of quality control, to Olive Oil Times.

Nippon Olive won two golds at the 2023 NYIOOC and has won every year since 2020. Kunisaki Olive Garden debuted at the NYIOOC in 2023 and earned a Silver Award for its blend, Yumeshizuku.

In southwest Japan, constant work and passion are behind Kunisaki Olive Garden’s extra virgin olive oils. "We care for each of our trees, adapting to their individual conditions," Ohno stated. "We carefully cultivate, harvest, and process olives."

Olives are handpicked by the company, which selects the olives to ensure only the best fruits will go to the mill. “Within 12 hours of harvesting, we process the olives with the goal to produce an olive oil rich in flavor and low in acidity,” she said.

The unpredictability of the weather is one of the major challenges for Kunisaki Olive Garden. “We had a typhoon last year that came just before the harvest and brought down almost 900 olive trees,” Ohno said.

Inclement weather has always been a relevant issue for Japanese olive growers. Framed by the iconic view of Mount Fuji in the background, Crea Farm has once again won a Gold Award at the NYIOOC for its Coratina monovarietal.