With stable weather conditions, Greece is going to remain the third largest olive oil producer, after Spain and Italy, with 400,000 metric tons yearly. The last couple of years, the production was reduced to 300,000 metric tons, because of weather conditions. About 85% of the Greek olive oil is extra virgin.
Greece has the highest consumption of extra virgin olive oil worldwide. In the Greek diet, olive oil is the main used fat and it is considered the healthiest. Greece exports 90% of its olive oil to the European Union. Of that oil, 90% leaves Greece in bulk and 10% under Greek brand names. The majority of the Greek olive oil ends up in Italy.
Olive trees cover 60% of the Greek cultivated land. There are over 500,000 olive growers, which shows that olive producing is not industrialized. Even with modern technology, olive growing is still a family affair.
The whole country produces olive oil, but 70% of the whole production, comes from Peloponnese and Crete. There are many varieties of olive producing olives, but the main variety grown in Greece, is the Koroneiki, with place of origin Korone, Messenia, the Southwestern corner of Peloponnese and in the island of Crete.
The variety of Koroneiki is a very small olive that produces a high quality oil, with a golden green color, a fruity flavor and a smooth, pleasant and unique taste.
The olive tree takes about 7 years to give its first fruit and another 12 years to reach its full capability. Olive harvesting lasts from October to February.
Hand picking the olives and pressing them on the same day, is a trademark of excellent quality, superiority, low acidity and excellent organoleptic characteristics.
Olive oil is best when consumed raw, for appreciation of its flavor and aroma, also for its health benefits.