The most popular tree on Crete

We are on the island of Crete, a place one might describe as synonymous with the olive tree. Certain figures are astonishing:

-    Olive trees cover ¼ of the total area of the island and olive groves account for approximately 65% of its agricultural land.
-    There are over 35 million olive trees on the island.
-    Over 95,000 farming families are involved in the cultivation of olive trees.
-    A four-member family consumes approximately 100 kilograms of olive oil per year1!

The truth is that no matter where you stand, you can either see extensive olive groves, or isolated – or small groups of – olive trees. In recent years, even in the cities, these trees, which were once associated with rural areas and agriculture, now have a place of honour, as they adorn even the most luxurious hotels and houses.

What is it that has made the olive tree so popular?
The value it has been given, particularly in recent years, is mainly due to the global recognition of the high nutritional value of its products and olive oil, in particular.

 

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1 The average consumption in Greece is the highest in the world and comes to 20 kg/person annually. On Crete, consumption is even higher, amounting to 25 kg/person. These indices are quite higher than corresponding ones in other countries, even oil-producing ones (Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities [SEDIK], 2007).

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