The Greeks believed that the olive tree was a gift from the gods. Both Greeks and Italians share legends about the olive. The Greeks especially valued the “liquid gold” so much that they only allowed virgin girls and boys to pick the fruit of the olive.
In the ancient Olympics, the winners were crowned with an olive tree branch and it was believed that the life of the sacred tree was transmitted to the winner through the olive branch.
In ancient Greece and Rome the olive oil was a well respected commodity and it was traded by transporting ships, all around the Mediterranean countries. The belief that the olive oil was a source of health and youth, made it a precious liquid to have.
During the Roman Empire the cultivation of the olive trees flourished, but when the Roman Empire fell the olive tree died, except some trees in Tuscany. Tuscany since the Roman Empire is known for its olives and olive oil production.
Until about 1500 B.C. olive trees were spread mostly in Greece. Shortly after, the cultivation of the olive tree spread all over the Mediterranean countries.
In the eighteenth century the olive tree came to America. Olive oil became well known because Greek and Italian immigrants demanded the “liquid gold” to be imported from Europe. So this super food found its way into the kitchens of the new world.