The olive tree in Greece
For us, Greeks, Athena, daughter of Zeus, was the patron goddess of the olive tree. The olive tree in Greece has not only been associated with its fruit and the unmatched nutritional value it provides but also with our religion and culture. The olive tree was worshiped both as a product and as a tree; it became a symbol of good character, sportsmanship and athletic ideal. The olive wreath used to symbolize and, for us Greeks, still symbolizes the highest distinction of ethos.
The olives are harvested from late autumn until, sometimes, late winter; usually six to eight months after the flowering of olive trees which happens during spring.
The best way to harvest olive tree fruit is by hand, opting for the right time of its maturation.
The olive tree thrives in very dry climates and is tolerant to drought and high winds. Therefore, it is no surprise that olive trees uniformly grow in the Mediterranean basin, where mild winters and long, hot summers prevail.
In our country there are several olive varieties and some of them really stand out. The Kalamata one is a great variety of edible olives whose excellent fruit is the raw material for the production of the famous and world's unique commercial edible olives type: Kalamata olives.
The cultivation of the olives is mainly narrowed to the region of Messinia, including the surrounding areas. Their special quality features combined with their origins, have been officially recognized by the EU as products of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and can thus carry both the European and the national PDO trademark.
Products of Protected Designation of Origin - PDO
When a product in a given geographical area has some special qualities, valued by their consumers as superior ones, and within the passing years it is been discovered that these superior qualities are presented with a high degree of stability, then the name of the product ends up to be formally accompanied by its geographical origin.
Consequently, these qualitative characteristics have their roots in the environmental conditions and the established practices through which man based on his experience and culture created the final product. In this way, unique products are given to the final consumer.
Olive’s nutritional value
The efficacy and usefulness of the olive fruit on the human body are known due to olives’ rich nutrients. Firstly, olive average energy value is greater than that of other fruits and vegetables. Secondly, the processed olive fruit, as presented in our table, contains olive oil and proteins -nearly all major amino are present- sugars, tannins and minerals with great biological value for the human body, such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and others. Moreover, it is noteworthy that olives content of calcium is not only greater than that of other fruits and vegetables, but also of meat, fish and bread. It is equal to the calcium content of cow's milk.
Finally, we should not neglect that olives are an important source of vitamin A. Olives revitalize and benefit the body. That is why, according to nutritionists, olives are a valuable supplement to our daily diet and thus everyone should be eating a few grams of olives a day.