Olives & Olive Oil, Crete’s Greatest Gift | 20 Nov 2016
35.2401° N, 24.8093° E
Olives are probably human history’s greatest fruit. As Judith Taylor quoted “No other food of equal or greater antiquity – with the possible exception of the grape – is surrounded by the same aura of myth and romance”. The Olive Tree, native to Eastern Mediterranean and west Asia, was cultivated 6,000 years ago providing food among numerous other uses for the mankind. In ancient times olive trees were considered so valuable that anyone who cut one down in ancient Greece would be punished by death or exile. The famous ancient Greek poet Homer referred to Olive Oil as liquid gold. Olives and the olive oil are the backbone of the diet in Greece and particularly in the one of Crete where its citizens have by far the highest per capita consumption in the world. At this time of year, for thousands of years driven by a 'loyalty oath' of one generation to the other, the olive harvesting in Crete starts. An amalgamation of extremely hard physical work against the rugged land of Crete and the equivalent sweet reward that brings to life one of Crete’s greatest gifts.