05 Jun

The Olive – A Fruit That Has Spread

It is reckoned that the first olive trees were cultivated in Greece. The olive tree is central to the legend about the founding of Athens, and other traditions uphold this as being the birthplace of the modern olive.

From Greece the olives were transported throughout the Mediterranean basin – Rhodes, Crete, the Italian penninsula, and outwards to Spain and France. The olives flourished and quickly became established wherever they were taken.

Much later they were transported to the New World, by Jesuit priests to Peru and Chile where they did well. And north to Mexico and California where they also did extremely well. But later when the English speaking peoples ruled in California, the lack of knowledge of how to care for the trees meant that they suffered.

In America there have been experiments to grow Mediterranean olive trees in some of the southern states, The Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. They have done well here and add a welcome new crop. But nowhere do the olives do so well as in their native Mediterranean home. And it is there that the best olive oil continues to be found.

Leave a Reply