Olive oil has been at the core of Mediterranean food and culture for thousands of years. Olive trees appeared in Eastern Mediterranean farming more than 6000 years ago with roots back to ancient Palestine, Crete and Egypt.
Olive oil is made from the juice of the olive fruit. Olive harvest begins in late October in the Northern Hemisphere and in April in the Southern Hemisphere and lasts around 4 months in both cases. Approximately 95% of the olive oil supply to the world still comes from the Mediterranean, and the biggest producer is Spain followed by Italy, Tunisia and Greece.
Olive trees can live to be well over 100 years old. In fact, there’ said to be a tree in the Greek Island of Crete that’s more than 3,000 years old! Traditional farming methods have evolved around the multitude of shapes, sizes and locations of olive groves.
Modern harvesting methods such as shakers and straddle harvesters (pictured) have been developed to make the picking rate much faster, and has been based on systems used for other fruit, but is not without its challenges.
All About Olive Oil by the Australian Olive Oil Association. This site will guide you through everything you need to know about olive oil, from production, through varieties and types to the final use at your family dinner table.