In ancient times the islands of Samos and Ikaria were known as excellent olive oil producers. Attica was not only self-sufficient but also the largest olive oil exporter in the ancient world. Our ancestors used olive oil not only as a staple food but also as a medicine for the body and for hair care. The athletes would rub their bodies with olive oil before entering the track and the ‘palaestra’ (wrestling ring).
The best olive oil was extracted from green olives and it would be then stored in earthenware vessels, a process which survived in Greece until the II World War.
Greece is nowadays the third olive oil producing country in the world after Spain and Italy.
The nutritional and therapeutic properties of olive oil are nowadays recognized around the world and the cultivation of the olive tree has spread not only to the entire Mediterranean basin but also to the U.S., Chile and Australia. Even India and China are making efforts to cultivate olive trees in areas where the microclimate and topography correspond to Mediterranean characteristics. But the results have been less than impressive ...