All About Olive Oil

From Tree To Table

The olive tree

It is said that the olive tree originated from Asia Minor. It belongs to the Olea Europaea species and comes in two varieties: (a) the tame or common olive tree and (b) the wild olive tree.

It is an evergreen, age-long tree. It can reach up to 10 metres in height and its roots penetrate deep into the soil. It grows numerous side branches that extend in all directions, thus helping the tree withstand storms and strong winds.

When young, its bark is smooth and shiny, but as the tree ages, its bark grows darker in hue and becomes ligneous, with cavities. Its leaves are lanciform, opposed and criss-cross. Their upper part is green and shiny, while the lower part is fuzzy.

The tree blooms appear in April and May; they are small in size and of a yellowish hue. Its fruit, i.e. the olive, is small, round and green. As it matures, it grows in size and changes to an oval shape. Its exterior is fleshy and it has a hard stone in the middle.

Greece has olive tree varieties that do not exist in other olive-producing countries, such as the Koroneiki variety, which provides top quality olive oil and is cultivated in Peloponnesus, Crete, Zante and other locations.