Greek Olive Varieties

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In Greece there are several varieties of olive fruits. Among others, the most popular and most common are Ladolia, Manaki, Koroneiki, Athinolia (Tsounati) etc. During the stages of maturity, olive fruit changes colour from green to violet and then black.
Olive Oil taste characteristics depend on which stage of ripeness olive fruits are been collected. Olive Oil coming from green to violet olive fruits contains large amounts of phenolic and aromatic compounds and has intensive fruity and herbal taste (Koroneiki and Athinolia variety).
On the other hand, as the fruit becomes riper the amounts of phenolic and aromatic compounds are getting lower. The taste of olive oil that comes from violet to black fruits is softer and its aroma reminds ripe fruits like apple, tomatoes and sometimes almonds (Ladolia and Manaki variety).

This is the most popular variety in Greece. The 60% of the total Greek production is Koroneiki. It has a small size and matures relatively from early October to December. Its weight is from 0.3 to 1.0 grams and its length from 12 to 15 millimeters. Although the fact that Koroneiki tree needs minor attention and can stand low temperature during the winter, it gives the finest olive oil comparing to other varieties.

This variety matures slowly and its collection is from end of December till beginning of January. Its fruit has medium size with an oval shape. Its weight is from 2.2 till 2.9 grams, and its length can vary from 7.5 to 25 millimeters. Olive oil from Athinolia is of excellent quality with a rather low viscosity.

20130511-183622.jpgLadolia (Tsounati)
It is a variety which gives flowers from end of April till end of May. Its fruits mature end of October till end of November. The size of the fruit is rather small with dimensions of 10 to 16 millimeters and it has an average weight of 1.2 grams.

This variety is of medium hardiness. The fruit mature ripens between December and January. it is harvested when it has undergone full colour change. It has enlongated and assymetric shape where its weight is quite high. It is moderately ressistant to cold and sensitive to excessivety hot climates. It is the most famous table olive around the world.

This variety is of medium hardiness and it has a medium rooting ability. Mature and harvest date depends on the end use of the fruit. It has an ovoid shape. Due to the fact that it has a medium content of good quality olive oil it is mostly used as table oil or olive spread. It is ressistant to cold and olive knot whereas it is sensitive to vertieillium wilt and moderately sensitive to dry climates.

This variety is aslo of medium hardiness as Kalamon. The fruit mature early and its harvest is being done durinf November and December. This olive fruit doesn’t turn complety black when it reaches maturity. It has an elongated and assymetric shape where its weight is quite high. It is ressistant to drought and cold.

This variety also matures slowly and the best time for harvesting is from end of January till beginning of February. The fruit has average dimensions with an oval shape. Its weight varies from 2.2 to 2.9 grams. What characterizes Manaki tree is that it can resist to high altitudes, where other varieties, except Athinolia, cannot thrive.


Some numbers concerning Greek Extra Virgin Olive:

Greeks are among the largest producers and consumers of olive-relate products.

There are 170.000.000 olive trees in Greece or to put things in perspective, 15 olive trees for every Greek citizen. There are hundreds of olive trees exceeding 100 years and several exceeding 1000 years.

Greek average annual olive oil production is 460 thousand metric tons. Greek average annual edible olive production is 100 thousand metric tons.

75% of the Greek olive oil is extra virgin, the best category for olive oils.

Greece is the largest producer of extra virgin olive oil in the world.

There are 2.500 oil mills spread around the country. A key to Extra Virgin Olive Oil quality, in other words no olive is left longer than 2-4 days until is pressed.

Greece is the third largest world producer of edible olives and olive oil with a 16% share of the olive oil market and a 7.2% share of the edible olive market.

Greeks possess the largest per capita consumption of olive oil in the world, with the average Greek consuming more than 20 kilos of olive oil every year. That’s almost twice as much as the second in rank country with 11 kilos of per capita consumption per year.

Out of 521,000 families, 269.000 (51,6%) families depend on olive production as primary or secondary source of income.

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