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Olive History

The olive is closely connected with the lives of people of the  Mediterranean and has long been a symbol of prosperity, peace and firtility. We can understand the importance of the olive if we
just think of the olive branch aworded to the olympic winners.

As legend is told, the olive was the gift of the goddess Athena to residents of the city of Athens, who in gratitude named their city after the goddess. The olive tree appeared in the Mediterranean region thousands of years ago and then spread to surrounding countries. In Crete, olive cultivation began around 3,500 BC. The ancient Greeks rubbed their bodies and hair with olive oil for grooming and health.

Many Greek and Roman writings refer to the beneficial role of the olive. Its cultivation is estimated to have started before 7,000 years. After the 16th century, Europeans brought the olive to the New World and started cultivation in California, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina. Today it is estimated there are around 800 million trees and more than 70 different varieties in the world with the vast majority in Mediterranean countries.The normal life of an olive tree is between 300 and 600 years and there are some, which exceed the 1000 year life period.

Olive & health

Depending  on their size  5 small  or 3  large  olives  provide  45  calories and  are equivalent to  one teaspoon of  olive oil.  It is a good  source of  monounsaturated  fatty  acids. 

The olives  are rich  in nutrients  and compete  with  virgin  olive oil.  They contain significant amounts of vitamin  A and  carotenoids  and small  amounts of  vitamins  B1 , B6  and B12  Black olives  are richer in  total  tocopherols  in relation to  green  and are the  only ones that  contain beta- alpha- tocopherols and  tocotrienols.  The  trace elements  of olives  are potassium , calcium, phosphorus, iron  and magnesium  whereas those  kept  in brine  contain high  amounts of sodium.

Olives  also contain  vitamin  D which  helps for development - reproduction,  vision,  skin, and has  anticancer effects  while  tocopherols  have antioxidant  properties  and also  anticancer effects. 

Monounsaturated  fatty  acids  enhance the  function of  cardio - respiratory  system and  protect us  from  heart disease.  Those  suffering  from hypertension  should  watch  on consumption amounts  due  to  sodium  (olives  preserved in brine ).

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