Promoting diversity and variety of goods in the markets!
Discount markets is something but not everything….
Promoting diversity and variety of goods in the markets!
Discount markets is something but not everything….
European Table Olives: Showcasing Superior Quality And Taste
The campaign is a three-year promotional programme co-funded by the European Union, which aims to increase the awareness and demand for European table olives of both professionals and consumers as well as to develop exports in the target markets of USA and Canada.
The ‘OLIVE YOU, European Table Olives’ campaign was launched at the Summer Fancy Food Show, the largest food and beverage trade show in North America, held this year in New York on June 25-27, with more than 40,500 registered participants.
Under the umbrella of the Olive You campaign, PEMETE and seven of its member companies participated in this important international food show, highlighting the superior quality and high standards of European table olives.
Over 2,000 distributors and HoReCa sectors visited the ‘OLIVE YOU, European Table Olives’ booths and were presented with European Table Olives varieties and informed about their superior quality and flavours. They also had the opportunity to taste this healthy product.
Following the event, the three-year ‘OLIVE YOU, European Table Olives’ campaign in the US and Canada will approach journalists, chefs, foodies, retailers and consumers of all ages, through promotional activities, events, sampling, and publicity, in order to familiarise the public with this natural and delicious food product.
PEMETE is a professional association, founded in 1970, that promotes the interests of table olive exporters. The 46 member-companies of PEMETE represent more than 90% of Greece’s exports of table olives to more than 100 countries.
The European Union has teamed up with Spanish Inter-Professional Table Olive Organization, INTERACEITUNA, and Michelin-starred chef José Andrés to launch an olives campaign directed at U.S. consumers. The goal of the campaign—“A tasty message from Europe. Have an Olive Day”—is to raise awareness of the versatility, flavor, nutrition, and rich history of olive production in Europe, especially in Spain, the world leader in production and exports of table olives.
The campaign will run through 2019 and will seek to educate U.S. consumers on the different variations of European olives and their culinary uses. It will focus on U.S. regions with high olive consumption, including New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Zwei US-Produzenten behaupten in einer Klage, dass spanische Oliven um bis zu 200 Prozent unter Marktwert verkauft werden. Das US-Handelsministerium will den “unfairen Handel” stoppen.
Nach Holz aus Kanada und Zucker aus Mexiko nimmt die US-Regierung jetzt spanische Oliven ins Visier. Das Handelsministerium in Washington teilte am Donnerstag mit, es habe eine Untersuchung gestartet, ob Olivenimporte aus Spanien “unfair subventioniert” sind. Das Ministerium gehe damit einer Klage von zwei US-Olivenproduzenten nach.
Sie behaupten, dass spanische Oliven in den USA bis zu 200 Prozent unter Marktwert verkauft werden.
Handelsminister Wilbur Ross erklärte, die Regierung werde “rasch handeln, um jeglichen unfairen Handel zu stoppen”. Bis zum 7. August will das Ministerium entscheiden, ob Unternehmen und Beschäftigte in den USA tatsächlich geschädigt werden. Ab September könnte die Regierung vorläufige Strafzölle gegen spanische Oliven verhängen, im November dann endgültige.
Oliven-Exporte in Höhe von 71 Millionen Dollar
Spanien exportierte im vergangenen Jahr Oliven im Wert von knapp 71 Millionen Dollar (62 Mio. Euro) in die USA, wie das Ministerium mitteilte. Es handelte sich um “alle Farben, alle Formen, alle Größen” von reifen, verpackten Oliven. “Spezial-Oliven” etwa für den Martini gehören nicht dazu, auch mit Knoblauch oder Käse gefüllte Oliven nicht.
Die USA streiten sich bereits mit Kanada um den Import von Nadelbaumhölzern und den Export von US-Milchprodukten dorthin. Der Zuckerstreit mit Mexiko ist mittlerweile beigelegt – der Preis für Zucker aus Mexiko, der in die USA geliefert wird, wurde leicht angehoben.
US-Präsident Donald Trump hat auch in der Handelspolitik die Parole “Amerika zuerst” ausgegeben. Die Regierung will mehrere Freihandelsabkommen neu verhandeln. Multilaterale Abkommen mit vielen Mitgliedsländern sieht sie kritisch.
By Jackie Wattles
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The Trump administration is taking its fight for American trade to the market for Spanish olives.
The U.S. Department of Commerce said Thursday that it’s launching investigations into whether Spanish olive producers are violating fair trade laws. Investigators are concerned that the foreign producers are “dumping” olives into the U.S. — meaning Spanish olives are selling in the United States for less than they would sell for in Spain. That goes against laws that seek to protect American producers from being unfairly undercut by outside competition. It’s not a big market: About $70.9 million worth of Spanish olives were imported to the United States last year, according to the Commerce Department. Officials are working to determine whether olive dumping is taking place, and whether “olive producers in Spain are receiving alleged unfair subsidies,” the department said.
According to Commerce, the petitioner is the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ripe Olives, whose members are Bell-Carter Foods and Musco Family Olive Co. Bell-Carter CEO Tim Carter said in a June press release that “dumped and subsidized Spanish ripe olives are severely impacting” his business. He added that when the American olive industry was at its peak, there were 20 olive processors and 1,100 growers, but today there’s only two processors and 890 growers. Felix Musco, CEO of Musco Family Olive Co., has called the olive industry’s decline “painful.” “Our ripe olive industry takes great pride in the industry it created, the high quality of its product, and the thousands of workers and families the industry supports. Without import relief, all of this is at risk,” he said in a June statement. If wrongdoing is found, and if the International Trade Commission determines that U.S. producers were harmed, the Commerce Department promised it “will act swiftly to halt any unfair trade practices,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. Specifically, the U.S. government plans to impose taxes on Spanish olive imports “in the amount of dumping and/or unfair subsidization found to exist.” Bell-Carter and Musco have suggested those tariffs should be between 78% and a whopping 223%. The Commerce Department said it plans to have the first round of preliminary investigation results by later this year. The move marks the 51st fair trade investigation that the administration has launched since President Trump took office in January, the Commerce Department said. One of those probes seeks to uncover illegal steel trading. Trump doubled down Thursday on his threats to slap a hefty tariff on steel, citing “dumping” concerns. As Trump steps up his tough actions to protect U.S. producers, some economists and business people are worried about possible retaliation from other countries. A report earlier this month by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, which is based in London, suggested that America’s biggest trade partners have taken far fewer protectionist measures against U.S. business so far this year.
–CNNMoney’s Ivana Kottasová and Patrick Gillespie contributed to this report
TM & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
Production of olives for olive oil in Portugal is expected to have fallen by 30 percent in 2016 to less than 500,000 tonnes, and the autumn/winter grain growing area to have fallen to an “all-time low” according to projections from the National Statistics Institute.
According to INE, the drop in olive production for oil was the result of “adverse weather and the annual production rotation of traditional olive groves,” and expects total production of about 491,000 tonnes
(-30 percent against 2015), but “good quality” olive oil.
As for autumn/winter grains there was a “general reduction of installed areas,” compared to the previous year due to periods of intense cold and a lack of rain.
INE’s projections point to drops of around 5 percent in rye area, 10 percent in common wheat, triticale and barley and of 15 percent for durum wheat, with a total grain area of around 130,000 hectares, “which is the lowest recorded in the last three decades, in a year in which weather conditions made it possible for planting to go ahead as normal.”
우리 홈페이지 www.inolivia.com 에 당신을 초대합니다.
Inolivia 마케팅 팀
When you think of French food, smelly cheese and grapes are probably the first things that come to mind. As is pasta at the mention of Italian cuisine, or curry when asked about Indian gastronomy. Olives and feta cheese celebrate their Greek origins and spicy orange and red curries remind viewers of Indian and Indonesian flavours.
So it’s not hard to see why these commonly associated foods have been plated up alongside others to recreate some of the world’s national flags in a collection of photographs.
The Australian company behind the images chose meat pie and sauce to represent its home nation, making sure to cut out star-shaped holes in the pie’s crust to stick to the flag’s design while France’s Tricoleur is completed by brie, blue cheese and grapes. More adventurous creations are seen in Thailand’s blue swimmer crab, shredded coconut and sweet chilli sauce – three local delicacies that are best served separately perhaps. Basil, pasta and tomatoes, three of the most common ingredients in Italian cuisine are used to represent the country’s green, white and red flag, while Japan’s well known red dot is formed by raw tuna on a bed of rice. Spain’s civil flag is identified by its chorizo and paella rice. Unsurprisingly, Turkish delight was used to represent it’s national namesake as was Swiss cheese, often known as Emmental. More exotic foods were sourced for the display such as South Korean kimbap, which resembles Japanese sushi but uses sesame oil to flavour rice rather than vinegar. Lebanese lavash, a soft, thin flatbread, is served with fattoush which is a bread salad made of sliced pita and vegetables.
Ahead of the Sydney International Food Festival, the company has released photographs of their efforts which cleverly serve up 17 national flags made entirely from international delicacies. The agency, WHYBIN/TBWA, is making preparations ahead of the festival’s opening in October, when hundreds of thousands are expected to gather to celebrate global cuisine for a whole month.
The festival is the largest of its kind in Australia and attracted close to 1million foodies last year. Its highlights are the Night Noodle Market and Breakfast on Bondi which invites enthusiasts to the most important meal of the day on the fames stretch of beach.
(Source: : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/)
Posted by Mike Durando, Agricultural Marketing Service Fruit and Vegetable Program Marketing Order and Agreement Division Director, on April 16, 2015 at 1:00 PM
Each industry has its own recipe for success. For the ripe olive industry, the recipe for success includes many ingredients. This includes a commitment to consistency, marketing, and research. These factors help the nearly 1,000 family farms from California supply 95 percent of the ripe olives grown in the U.S.
The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides the ripe olive industry many of the ingredients for its success. One of the ways we do this is by overseeing the federal marketing order for olives grown in California, which is administered locally by the California Olive Committee. Federal marketing orders and agreements are requested by various groups in the U.S. produce industry to help growers and handlers within a geographic region to overcome marketing barriers and increase awareness of the commodity. Industry groups get together to decide the tools needed to support the commercial and financial success of the businesses in the industry.
Whether it was wearing and eating olive rings as children or using them later on when making a tapenade spread, olive lovers always have the same fond memories. A good reason for this is because the California olive marketing order provides standards for cans of ripe olives. The olive standards specify that USDA employees inspect canned, ripe olives to ensure consumers enjoy the same eating experience, can after can, no matter what form the olives take – whole, pitted, sliced, wedged, or chopped.
One of the ways that the industry maintains this consistency is through the help of the marketing order’s Section 8e requirement. This requires imports of olives and other select commodities to meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements as commodities produced within the United States. “The Section 8e requirement has really helped our industry,” said California Olive Committee Executive Director Alexander Ott. “It levels the playing field for our growers and handlers in California but it also ensures consumers are eating quality olives – a win for all.”
The U.S. olive industry uses the order’s marketing and research provisions in a number of ways. Olive lovers can visit the California Olive Committee’s website to find a wealth of information that includes delicious recipes, cooking tips, videos, and much more. The industry has conducted a number of production and marketing research projects which not only improve olive production, but help find new marketing opportunities for California olives. Continue reading
NEW YORK, Dec 7 — New research from Harvard University suggests it could put years on your life.
But a Mediterranean diet rich in pungent olive oil does not come cheap, and it is just about to get a lot more expensive. Disastrous olive harvests in much of southern Europe have sent wholesale prices shooting up, meaning consumers around the world are going to have to get used to paying substantially more for a culinary staple prized equally by gourmets and physicians. Nowhere has the impact of freakish summer weather been felt more painfully than in Tuscany and Umbria, where the subtly aromatic, extra-virgin oils reaped from timeless landscapes provide the industry’s global benchmark for quality. In Spain, which last year accounted for half the world’s production of all grades of olive oil, a toxic cocktail of scorching temperatures, drought and bacteria is expected to halve output this year.
A silent press
A different bacteria threatens to decimate olive groves in southern Italy. In the heartland of poshly-packaged oils that connoisseurs discuss like fine wines, it was a humble fly that wreaked havoc after being handed optimal breeding conditions by the erratic climate. At Fiesole, in the heart of Tuscany’s “Chiantishire”—so called because of its rich British ex-patriots—Cesare Buonamici’s olive processing facilities should be whirring at full capacity. Instead, thanks to the olive fly, the sophisticated presses and extraction machines lie dormant for lack of the organically-cultivated fruit that would normally keep them busy until nearly Christmas. “Our production has been halved,” the former engineer says gloomily. Figures from the International Olive Council suggest wholesale prices of Italian oil have risen 37 per cent from 2013, but Buonamici warns the rise for top quality oils like his will be steeper. “Those are the prices ex-press,” he told AFPTV. “For the final consumer the increase is likely to be more than 60 per cent.”
It’s a fruit, not a vegetable. If you pick it raw, directly off the tree, you’ll most likely spit it out. Varieties include Lugano, Domat, Picholine and Arbequina. Can you name the fruit? If Kalamata is added to the list, the correct answer of “olive” may easily slip off your tongue. If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Italian olive groves and picking fresh olives right off the tree, here’s my advice: Visit, yes. Pick and eat, no. Just-picked olives are extremely bitter.
Various curing processes are needed to turn the inedible fruit into the delicious salty morsels we have come to love. In recent years, more attention has been given to the oil that is pressed from these green and black gems than to the fruit itself. But olives themselves are a great addition to a variety of dishes. They’re especially useful in creating quick and easy appetizers, something we all look for during the coming holiday season.
Learn a little about olives before you start selecting them for your appetizer recipes. The olive is a drupe; that is, a fruit with skin, meat inside and a single stone. Most olives start out green and darken as they mature. However, this does not mean that green olives are never considered ripe. Green olives are called “green ripe” when they reach full size but have not begun to change color. The flesh is firm, softening as it changes color on the tree. And those canned black olives that grace everything from your favorite pizza to your mother’s seven-layer salad? Canned black olives don’t start out black at all. They are harvested green and unripe, then lye-cured to trigger an oxidation process, turning the fruit black.
Once olives are picked, they are cured using a variety of methods. Olives can be cured in water, oil or lye. They can also be brined or dry-cured, usually with salt. Lye curing, invented in Spain, is the most cost-effective method. It also produces the least flavorful olive. The raw olives are placed in alkaline lye, which turns them black. Water curing is a traditional method of preparing olives but has taken a back seat to the faster lye cure. Water curing allows olives to naturally soak out their bitterness over a period of weeks or months while they are submerged in fresh water or a seasoned salted brine. Brine curing not only removes the olive’s natural bitterness, it also adds flavor. Kalamata olives often are cured in a red wine vinegar brine that gives them their distinct flavor. Dry-cured olives are rubbed with salt and then left to cure for weeks or months. The salt pulls out the moisture from the olives, removing the olive’s bitterness. The salt then is removed. These olives often are coated in olive oil after curing. Known for an intense flavor, dry-cured olives make a good choice for garnish on a charcuterie and cheese board.
It is important to select the right olives for the recipe you are preparing. Making a tapenade spread? Try meaty Kalamatas or Cerignolas. Are the olives going to be served warm? Select a firmer olive like a Niçoise or Arbequino. Steven Rawson, deli manager of Glorioso’s on Brady St., recommends Cerignola olives to create a quick platter. “Cerignolas are great for an olive mixture because of the various colors available,” he explained. The green Cerignola is picked raw and then brined. Fully tree-ripened Cerignolas are black. The red version is the brined green olive with food coloring added. The variety of olive, when it is picked and the curing method used all make a difference. The following varieties are frequently found in grocery store olive bars.
Arbequina: Arbequina olives are tiny and light brown in color. Grown mainly in the Aragon and Catalonia regions of Spain, the olive is eaten but also used in Spanish olive oil.
Cerignola: This large, meaty olive originated in the Italian province of Puglia and is named for the town of Cerignola. A popular table olive, Cerignolas are sold as green-ripe, black or red.
Gaeta: Purple-brown in color, the Gaeta olive comes from the Italian district of the same name. These soft-fleshed olives are cured in a water brine and have a slight citrus taste. Traditionally, these small olives are served tossed in extra-virgin olive oil flavored with fresh rosemary sprigs .
Kalamata: These smooth-skinned black olives originated in Kalamata, Greece, where they are used as a table olive. The soft black olive is brined in red wine vinegar and often sold without pits, making them a great choice for olive tapenade spreads.
Moroccan dry-cured olives: Morocco produces a large variety of olives but is best known for dry-cured. It is dry-cured in salt and resembles a small prune.
Niçoise: French Niçoise olives are harvested when they are fully ripe and black. Because of their small size, they are seldom sold pitted and are often packed in olive oil with dried herbs. Niçoise olives are a must ingredient in the classic Niçoise salad and Provençal-style anchovy and onion pizza called a pissalaiere.
Picholine: These small French green olives have a light salty flavor. Picholines are often sold in jars and used for garnish in cocktails and served on relish trays. Olive bars in grocery stores make shopping a snap. Glorioso’s offers between eight and 10 varieties of olives in its deli area, in addition to various premade olive salads. Groppi’s in Bay View is also a good destination, and larger grocery stores offer olive bars. For the holidays, whether you make an aromatic tapenade, a citrus-laced topping for your favorite briny cheese or an easy mix of colorful favorites, olives are an easy go-to ingredient.
Fruit is not harvested from olive trees until they are 15 years old. And these trees grow to be very, very old. The average olive tree is between 300 and 600 years. And the oldest? That would be 2,000 years old. The olive branch is a symbol of peace. It can be found on the flags of seven nations, four U.S. states and the United Nations. Think Italy grows the most olives in the world? Think again. Spain holds that title, producing over 20% of the world’s olive crop. Italy comes in a close second at 18%. And California, the U.S. state that grows the most olives? It’s not even in the top 10 olive-producing areas, having less than 40,000 acres of olive trees. Residents of Crete have the highest consumption of olive oil per person and the lowest death rate from heart-related diseases.
Large trees produce an average of 300 to 400 pounds of olives annually. One hundred pounds of olives produces approximately 8 liters of oil.
Terri Milligan is a professional chef and cooking instructor who lives in Door County. Contact her through her website.
My 2-year-old grandson, Landon, loves olives and pickles, which he calls “ahwives” and “bickles.” And, no, they aren’t the best thing for him, but what’s a grandmother to do when he’s holding up his chubby little hand begging for “ahwives?” I’ll tell you what we do – we give him some. Not much, but some. I can’t blame him. I love olives and pickles, too. However, once I check out the sodium and fat content, I don’t eat many of them. My recipe today is a soup from Food & Wine magazine that sounds really interesting. I haven’t tried it yet, but I intend to – maybe this evening, if I get time. But first, here’s a little info about olives you might or might not know:
Olives have been held in high esteem in Mediterranean cultures. To the ancient Greeks, the olive tree was a gift from the gods. Today, olives are recognized as a delightful addition to soups, salads, and – well, most anything you want. Here’s a sampling of the more popular kinds:
Atalanti – From the town of Atalanti in eastern Greece, these purple-green Greek olives are pale, medium-round with a luscious, fruity flavor and fleshy texture. They are packed in vinegar brine.
California black – Firm black olives with a mild flavor. Green olives are cured in a lye solution that causes them to oxidize and turn black.
California Sicilian – Large green olives with a sharp taste. In 1769, olives were introduced to California by the Spanish. Today, California produces about 200,000 tons of commercial olives per year.
Chinese preserved – Shriveled medium-sized olives cured with salt, sugar, or honey and licorice root.
Greek green – “Prasines” are firm, fleshy, large, round and purplish-green. They have a mild, fruity flavor and crunchy texture.
Green cracked – “Tsakistes” are large, firm green olives with cracked flesh, but not to the stone. They marinate in oil mixed with herbs, garlic, lemon, onion, or fennel. Their sharp flavor pairs nicely with cheese.
Experience A Night in the Middle East with Chef Stefanie Martin at the PC Cooking School on August 14
During a visit to Israel and Palestine this past March, Elaine McCarthy was fortunate to enjoy some amazing Middle Eastern foods
The Middle East is comprised of 18 countries and 12 languages and is the birthplace for major religions that are practiced worldwide. It’s a very economically, politically, culturally and religiously sensitive area and the conflict there has been felt for generations. One thing that the people of the Middle East — Jews, Muslims, Christians and all people in-between — can agree on is that the food is amazing and was part of the “clean eating” diet well before it became a major food trend elsewhere.
References to olives, garlic, honey, mint, figs and dates are found in the Torah, Quran, and the Bible. The most commonly used proteins in that region are lamb, chicken, and fish. While both Islam and Judaism forbid the consumption of pork, tilapia is found naturally in the Sea of Galilee — where the fishermen still use nets similar to the ones that the disciples in the Bible were said to have used. Olives, olive oil, pita, honey, dates, sesame seeds, sumac, chickpeas, and yoghurt are used daily throughout the region.
What’s your olive?
This Simple Question Could Save You Money On Every Shopping Trip.
Over on personal finance blog Vosa, founder Brent recently presented a money-saving strategy he’s named “The Olive Method,” after the example of American Airlines eliminating the mostly uneaten olives from their customers’ salads and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
What do in-flight meals have to do with saving you money while you shop?
Well, Brent explains, choosing your “olive” just means eliminating the item in your basket or cart you want least, just like you might not choose to eat the olive. If you aren’t going to eat and enjoy it, why buy it? Pass it up and save the cash instead.
– When clothes shopping, the duplicate “It’s such a good deal” white tee
– When food shopping, the “I had a hard week” cookies
– When at the drugstore, the “Let me just grab this” candy bar
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is calling on manufacturers of traditional foods and beverages, from fish-roe producers to honey makers, to play a bigger role in transforming the country into an export economy.
Greece, which saw exports fall 0.2 percent to 27.3 billion euros ($37.5 billion) in 2013, needs food and beverage companies to catch up with export-oriented industries like fuels and do more to help pull the country out of a six-year recession, Samaras told industry representatives on the island of Lesvos May 13.
More Greek food companies, some of whom were forced to look for sales outside their traditional home market as the crisis shrank the economy, should focus “on processing agricultural produce in order to bring Greek products to international markets,” Samaras said. “Today, 200 large companies account for 85 percent of production while 17,000 small and medium-sized companies have huge potential.”
Greek exports of agricultural products including food, beverages and vegetable oils rose 3.5 percent by value in 2013 to 4.75 billion euros, according to the Panhellenic Exporters Association. At around 17 percent of the total value of Greek exports, the food and beverage industry trails fuels and industrial goods like machinery and chemical products as the country’s top export category.
Greece’s economy contracted at its slowest pace in four years in the first quarter, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said May 15. The European Commission forecasts that Greek GDP will grow 0.6 percent this year, its first annual expansion since 2007.
Olives, olive oil and milk are among the products initially monitored under a law published today in the Official Bulletin. The Agriculture Ministry will fund the agency to enforce rules on production and ensure the “truth and integrity” of data on the origin, destination and characteristics of raw materials.
The regulator will have a role in investigating breaches and issuing penalties, according to the law, which establishes the statutes for the Food Information & Control Agency.
Spain’s olive-oil output in the first half of the 2013-2014 season from October rose to 1.75 million metric tons, almost triple the 608,900 tons in the same period a year earlier, the ministry said today. About 30 percent of output was exported.
The commodity used in everything from salads to skin care has traditionally been dominated by Mediterranean growers. With rising competition from Argentina and Chile and upstart groves in California, China and Australia, some in the market have sought more price and data transparency from major producers.
To contact the reporter on this story: Todd White in Madrid at email@example.com
The olive tree was a gift of the gods to the Greeks. Goddess Athena planted the first olive tree on the acropolis at the center of Attica. The grateful Greek inhabitants of Attica honored the goddess by naming their polis Athena (Athens). The affection was mutual. Athena adopted and protected Athens. The citizens of Athens venerated Athena with elaborate Olympic-like games and festivals. They also built and dedicated their greatest temple, the Parthenon, to Athena.
The sacred olive tree flourished throughout Greece and the Mediterranean. Its olives and oil have been nutritional and medical food for millennia.
Greeks ate olives and oil in cooking. They used oil for their lamps, lighting their homes and temples and altars. The Greeks also made perfumes from oil. Some of those perfumes, exported all over the Mediterranean in the delicate and beautiful glass containers known as “aryballoi,” were aphrodisiacs. But olive oil was fundamental for sports and bathing. Athletes rubbed themselves with oil, their bodies becoming like shining statues of gods. Women bathed and anointed their bodies with oil. Greeks in Athens and Olympia also used olive wreaths to crown their victorious athletes.
Laws of the great seventh-century BCE Athenian legislator Solon punished the destroyers of olive trees with death. Solon was convinced the sacred olive and its oil could heal just about everything. The fifth century BCE tragic poet Sophocles praised the “blessed tree that never dies.” The gray-leafed tree, he wrote, nourishes people — and Zeus and Athena guard it with sleepless eyes.
The olive tree remains a blessing in Greece. Its fruit and oil are at the heart of Greek survival, diet, trade, and culture.
During WWII rural people with olives did not go hungry. My father hid his wheat flour and olive oil from the German and Italian occupiers. He buried large stone containers full of wheat flour and oil. He sent some oil and flour to relatives in Athens and those relatives did not starve.
When I was a child, we used olive oil to light our home. Our oil lamps did not differ much from those of Homeric Greece.
As a teenager, I used to load two-handled jars full of water on our donkey. I then drove the donkey where my father had planted a few olive trees and I watered them.
Decades later, I inherited those and other mature olive trees, some of them centuries old. But with the death of my father, and with me being in America, my agrarian dreams shattered. A person from my village mismanaged my olive trees pretty badly. He used to give my old mother two gallons of oil per year. The same trees used to give my father more than two hundred gallons of oil per year.
When I visited the village and, with my sister Georgia, walked in my olive groves, I felt the olive trees did not recognize me. Most trees were in a state of neglect. Others were on the verge of destruction. I kept urging Georgia to protect them.
Georgia in Greek means agriculture. So my sister Georgia always promised to fulfill my wishes: protect the olive trees. But, being a city girl, she never did and not because she did not want to. She had her own family and it was not easy to spend time in the village.
My olive trees, like the olive trees of Greece, are witness of Greek history. As Greece was forced to abandon the blessed gods for alien Christianity, goddess Athena was exiled and the Parthenon became a Christian church, a Moslem mosque, and a ruined building. Athena’s olive trees lost their sacredness and immortality. They became simply a source of olives and oil.
In his 1996 book, Olives, Mort Rosenblum wrote, “the [olive] trees [of Delphi] were a telling monument to modern times — a shift from glory to grubbiness — and only they seemed to bridge the time between past and present.”
Indeed, they do. Olives are “symbols of everything Greek since Athena.” Yet Greeks today fail to give olives what they deserve: enough work and care for the shining of the nutritional and healing virtues of this noble fruit. Greek farmers lose lots of wealth by selling most of their oil to Italian merchants.
This is shortsighted not merely because it’s a bad business decision. Greek olive oil is nearly perfect in taste, purity, and dietary and medicinal values. Here’s a product of nature, health, and Greek civilization that under Greek care and, why not, love, could make a difference in Greece — and the world.
Tom Mueller is right about olive oil made by nature. In his 2012 book, Extra Virginity, he says “oil is how life is: fruity, pungent, with a hint of complex bitterness — extra virginity’s elusive triad.”
European olives are treasured for their oil, and as a zesty snack in their own right. Now researchers are also using them to make biofuel. They’re hoping to reduce CO2 output while making olive growing more profitable.
Scientists and engineers at Vienna’s University of Technology are laboring over a shiny steel construction standing almost two storeys high. It’s a new generation “gasification plant,” which the university pioneered a couple of decades ago. It turns biomass into gas, and in Austria and a number of other European countries, that gas is used to run generators and produce electricity.
The problem operators now face is buying biomass to feed these power plants at a price which makes them competitive with other renewable and fossil fuel energy sources. With prices for wood and biofuel crops on the increase, the European Union is funding a project called which aims to turn the pomace – what’s left of the olive after its oil is pressed out – into biofuel.
“When you look at the olive mill operator he wants to get as much as possible out of the olive, and he tries everything he can to get as much out if it as possible,” Stefan Müller, a senior researcher at the university’s , told DW.
Müller is part of a team exploring the energy potential of olive pomace. He lines up bottles of the olive residue on his desk. Some are identifiable as the remains of olives, others look more like dark beach sand. Müller calls the dark sand material “olivine,” and explains it’s the feed stock for the gasification plant.
“At the end we have these residues and there isn’t much olive oil left in there. So this is a kind of waste material from an olive mill, but it still has quite a high energy content.”
More than just a canapé
The Phenolive project, co-funded by the European Union, involves pressing every last drop of value out of the olive. At the Phenobia Laboratory, a start-up enterprise begun by the University of Bordeaux, scientists also play a role in the Phenolive project. They are identifying compounds which can be taken from the olive pomace after it has given up its oil and before it’s turned into energy.
“The laboratory specializes in the analysis of phenols in different types of raw materials for finished products such as cosmetics, food supplements or food,” Director Xavier Vitra told France’s LaBiotech web site. He added that extracting the polyphenols will add value to the pomace.
The polyphenols from olive residue are used as antioxidant additives in foods as well as nutritional supplements and cosmetics. In Europe it’s estimated the market will be worth 290 million euros ($404 million) annually within a few years, according to the Phenolive web site.
“We’re very conscious about using the resources we have and that’s why these waste materials are in focus now, to use them to provide high valuable products,” adds Stefan Müller.
Keeping energy down on the farm
The new gasification plant being developed at Vienna’s University of Technology is small enough to be built on site at large olive plantations and olive presses. The energy it produces is intended for use within the olive oil enterprise.
“It’s important that you use the energy nearby the plant where you generate the residues so the plan is to cover the electricity demand and the heat demand of the olive oil mill with the gasification of these residues,” says Müller, adding that it also relieves the olive processors of the cost of disposing of their residues.
Some olive pomace is already burnt as a fuel in olive producing areas of Europe however Müller’s aim is to analyze the residue and fully investigate its energy potential. Other uses for pomace include compost and fertiliser.
The university’s research team also points to the work they are doing on producing liquid fuels from biomass, and say this has the potential to allow the olive industry to run its transport vehicles on fuel produced from the olive residue. A gasification plant the team developed at Güssing, Austria, is already producing liquid fuels for vehicles.
“It’s a bio-refinery, that’s the idea. It’s renewables producing our fuels for the future,” says engineer Johannes Schmid. His aim, he says, is to demonstrate refineries do not have to burn fossil fuels.
Europe produces 80 million tonnes of olive oil pomace every year, according to the Phenolive project. If the scientists are successful, the venture could boost the olive growing industry and see costs, particularly for energy, significantly reduced.
(Source DW: http://www.dw.de/european-olives-feed-biofuel-innovation/a-17495142)