THE OLIVE TREE
It is believed that olive trees came from Syria, Lebanon or even Israel, but some also argue that it may have come from Asia Minor, Lower Egypt or Ethiopia.
The Olea oleaster (Oleae europaea, var. sylvestris) – the wild olive – probably spread naturally, perhaps carried by migratory birds (thrushes, among others), until seeds found a climate that could foster their development.
“the Mediterranean dies where the olive tree doesn’t reach"
Over the centuries, the olive tree has been a symbol of victory and peace, progress, abundance, wisdom, justice and fertility. Champions were crowned with its branches and, with the oil of their fruits, darkness was driven away from homes, delicacies were spiced up, malaises were healed, and athletes were massaged. It was the Holy Tree!
The domestication of olive trees began during the Palaeolithic and Neolithic, that is to say, 10 000 to 3000 years a. C., possibly in Mesopotamia, from where it moved to Egypt (2000 years BC) and then to the islands of Asia Minor and to Continental Greece (1800 years BC).
OLIVES AND OLIVE OIL
In Nature, olive oil forms in tiny droplets in the cells of the pulp of the olives. It is the energy reserve that the olives will use when they free themselves from their mother, the olive tree, and, by their own means, olives must survive until they germinate and grow the roots that will allow the assimilation of the food necessary for growth and development of a new tree.
After the olive oil droplets are formed, Nature will endow them scent and flavour, so that wild animals – birds, specifically – are drawn to them and carry the olives or at least their stones to remote areas, therefore ensuring the survival and dissemination of the species.
Nature also endows oils with pigments, responsible both for the colour and the vitamins and antioxidants of great biological or nutritional value.
It is this oil, so formed in Nature, that humans stubbornly and brutally steal from olives for their own profit.
Thus, olive oil is a natural product and it is this natural product that is meant to be used in food, with all the characteristics and qualities that Mother Nature has given it.