- Prices of Greek extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) are dropping despite shortages in the 2014 harvest season of other major producers like Spain, France, Italy and Turkey. Even though Greeks are consuming an impressive 18 kilos per capita a year, the biggest consumption in the world,...
Prices of Greek extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) are dropping despite shortages in the 2014 harvest season of other major producers like Spain, France, Italy and Turkey.
Even though Greeks are consuming an impressive 18 kilos per capita a year, the biggest consumption in the world, most of Greek EVOO produced is exported to Italy. And while Greek olive mills were getting 3.50-4.00 euros per kilo in November, Italian buyers are willing to pay a maximum of 3.20 euros per kilo in December, according to the Olive Oil Times.
This year’s harvest in Greece was below average in several regions. Heavy rains, strong winds, even a twister, hit olive producers hard in key areas such as the Peloponnese, Volos and Agrinio. This has forced many producers to sell at low prices to cover their costs.
Greek olive oil mills and wholesalers sell to Italy at bulk to make a quick turnaround. However, they don’t use part of their profit to promote and market Greek EVOO internationally. As a result, Greek olive oil doesn’t have as strong reputation as the Spanish or Italian.
Greek EEVO producers put the blame on the economic crisis. But the root of the problem is that the Greek state has done next to nothing to protect pricing and promote Greek olive oil abroad. Also, even though subsidies are given to olive growers, there is very little control over how they are used.
Italy, on the other hand, has invested heavily on marketing and promotion, and Italian EVOO has a worldwide reputation and the largest market share. Italian olive oil producers have also promoted agrotourism with great results. The irony is that Italy needs Greek EEVO to maintain its reputation.
There are no similar efforts in Greece. Agricultural and gastronomic tourism are almost non-existent. Very few of the millions of tourists visiting Greece every year have the opportunity to taste fine EVOO or other quality agricultural products.
Greece has another strong competitor in the olive oil business. Tunisia is the new power in the field, with 46 companies exporting bottled olive oil. Targeting big markets like the U.S. and Europe, the Tunisian olive oil industry is state-aided by zero value added tax. This year, Tunisia will produce an estimated 300,000 tons, an amount that almost equals, or surpasses, Greek and Italian output. And Tunisia sells at less than 3 euros per kilogram.
Another factor Greek prices are dropping is the growing concern over EEVO adulteration. This year, some Greek olive oil companies began importing repaso olive oil from Spain. Repaso is the process of passing the olive paste waste through the centrifuge a second time with hot water. This way, the remainder of olive oil left behind in the olive paste is extracted. Some Greek producers mix it with EEVO; something that Italian producers have been accused of for years. Greek legislation prohibits mills to produce repaso oil.
The “Hellenization” of Spanish repaso olive oil was suspected to be the main reason prices of Greek EVOO have dropped, according to Olive Oil Times. The Greek government has pledged to strengthen controls to protect the quality of local olive oil.
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- In my next life, I want to come back as an olive farmer. This is what I decided after visiting the Queen Creek Olive Mill, where the fascinating world of olive harvesting was opened up to me, comments Katka Lapelosovà. Existing as Arizona’s first working olive farm and...
In my next life, I want to come back as an olive farmer. This is what I decided after visiting the Queen Creek Olive Mill, where the fascinating world of olive harvesting was opened up to me, comments Katka Lapelosovà.
Existing as Arizona’s first working olive farm and mill, Perry and Brenda Rea provide pesticide-free olive oil products to people from around the world. Each year they reveal a specialty product; 2014 saw a pumpkin spice-infused olive oil, a delicious blend of fall flavors to spice up salads, or drizzle over waffles.
They incorporate their passion into everything that goes on at the farm, especially when it comes to educating the public on olive oil and its many uses. I even tried cupcakes baked with the farm’s own infused oils. There really isn’t anything a good bottle of olive oil can’t make better.
Foodies will drool over the extensive selection of products the farm has to offer. Those looking to kick their cooking up a notch will enjoy tasting original infusions, such as chili, vanilla bean, and bacon (all products are also 100% vegan. Yes, even the bacon olive oil).
More conventional flavors, like traditional extra-virgin, rosemary, or garlic, are also available, along with homemade dressings, balsamic vinegars, and dipping sauces. A special line of beauty products featuring olive oil as a key ingredient also make for great gifts.
Queen Creek Olive Mill STORY…
What started out as a warm getaway from the chilly Detroit weather, actually turned out to be one of the most influential trips Perry and Brenda Rea ever decided to embark on. In 1997, the Detroit couple decided to visit the Valley of the Sun, and was surprised to see the abundance of olive trees growing around the Phoenix area.
Intrigued and excited upon the discovery, and with some red wine inspiration, the couple had an idea. As a child to first generation Italian immigrants, Perry was exposed to olive oil and its significance in the kitchen at a young age. Why not take advantage of the fruitful environment of the Valley and produce olive oil himself?
With the support of his wife, the couple left Detroit in 1998, and relocated with their four children (and one on the way) to Phoenix, Arizona. Going into the project, with the intentions of producing olive oil solely as a hobby, 1,000 olive trees were planted on 100 acres in the city of Queen Creek. With the idea of providing the Arizona community with fresh, local, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Perry and Brenda built a 5,000 square foot shed, which eventually transformed into the Queen Creek Olive Mill you see today.
After two successful years of selling oil to the community, the Rea family wanted to offer something more. The product line was enlarged, increasing the number of cold pressed oils, vinegars, tapenades, and stuffed olives. A small café was built inside of the building, to provide guests a taste of the possibilities one can create with local products. The goal was to create an agriturismo atmosphere, allowing Queen Creek Olive Mill to become more of a destination and experience, rather than simply a store.
Perry and Brenda have created an olive oil empire in Arizona, supplying the Valley and its surrounding cities with farm fresh, local food and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. With the addition of three new retail stores across Arizona, Queen Creek Olive Mill makes it possible for customers to have access to the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, while keeping it local.
Queen Creek Olive Mill is home to home to 7,500 olive trees on a 120 acre farm in Queen Creek, Arizona. Because of the hot Arizona heat, we have no natural pests and therefore are a 100% pesticide free farm. Our grove uses environmental friendly (drip) irrigation methods, and our olives are hand-harvested. Queen Creek Olive Mill has made it a priority to harvest and press our olives at the perfect time in order to create our signature
Tuscan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oils.
We harvest our olives in the fall, specifically, September through December. The earlier the olives are harvested, the more grassy a flavor they yield, while the olives harvested in the later months produce more of a fruity/buttery tasting oil. With this knowledge, our olives are hand-harvested from the tree at the exact moment necessary to create our delectable blend.
In order to guarantee the freshest oil, all of our olives are pressed within 24 hours of harvest. In other words, our olives go directly from tree to press, there is no lag or travel time.
“Fresh olives give you fresh oil, it’s as simple as that!” . . . Perry Rea, Owner
For more information on the Olive Mill go to
Queen Creek Olive Mill
25062 S. Meridian Road
Queen Creek, Arizona 85142
Sources article by Katka Lapelosovà & www.QueenCreekOliveMill.comVN:F [1.9.22_1171]VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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