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Over 30 million olive trees. 90% of the production being extra virgin

I had traveled through the Valley only once. In 2008, a family trip that brought us from Turkey, through Rhodes and then for 10 days near Sitia, on the east coast of the Island. My godfather is from Spili, a small village about half an hour south of Rethymno. The trip took us about 4 hours, as we traveled into the Messara plain. I still remember the sensation. A hot sunny afternoon in July. A slight breeze and a mesmerizing sight. A greyish green silver lining through the horizon. An endless sight of olive trees.

There are over 30 million olive trees in Crete. High quality extra virgin olive oil is produced mostly with the “Koroneiki” olive variety. Over 90% of the island’s production is extra virgin. It is mechanically pressed (or cold pressed) and unrefined. It has an acidity level of less than 0.8%. One of the oldest olive trees is located in Vouves, near Kissamos and is estimated to be 4000 years old, according to the scientists of the University of Crete. And, it still produces olives today.

Widely recognized as a core ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet

We know that olive oil production had a prominent position in the Minoan society and economy through findings of archeological searches. The olive tree was worshipped as sacred and its oil was also used in the production of perfumes, medicine, and in daily life as a basic product in diet, lighting and heating. It is also widely recognized as a “core ingredient” of the Mediterranean Diet and studies have shown potential health benefits (when used moderately) instead of other fats like butter and more saturated oils.

I have returned recently to the Valley coming through the South from the East coast. I took my time stopping in remote villages. Enjoying the moment. Meeting farmers, discussing some of the challenges they face, the increased pressure of the Greek economy, the expectations of a good harvest. And tasting the flavors and perfume of their olive oil. That experience will last with me forever. It will never wear on me. I will be back and enjoy every moment as I drive through the mountains, the valleys, and walk the terrain where time stops, and the silver lining of olive trees draws peace and warmth through my soul.


By Patrick Hadsipantelis

Tags: Crete. Island. News. Olive oil.

comment(1 comment)

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    Guylaine Cadoret

    January 16, 2018 at 23:22

    Bonsoir Patrick!

    Je viens de découvrir ton site et tes produits. C’est un plaisir de te lire et ca me donne tellement le goût de visiter ce magnifique coin du monde. C’est une excellente idée que tu as eu!

    Je te souhaite le meilleur des succès!



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