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OLIVES

Olives are the fruits of evergreen trees and bushes belonging to olive family. About 60 various species of plants are known, but the one that has a commercial and food value is the European Olive (Olea europaea – Latin) —a tree of 4 to 12 m high. Its fruit is a drupe of oblong oval or rounded form weighing about 15 grams. The raw olive pulp contains proteins (6%), cellulose (9%), water (23%), pectines (Pectines are organic substances facilitating the wound healings, decrease of cholesterol contents in blood, improving the bile acids exchange and neutralizing the toxicity and side effects of antibiotics, fats or butter (56%). One tree may yield up to 30 kg of olives, but the harvesting process is very labor-consuming and requires high skill. Following the proven ancient Greek technique, the olives shall be harvested only manually as they do not stand mechanic injuries.

This unique product was discovered by ancient Greeks. Since very long ago these small, palatable drupes were noted, which turned to be healthful. The ancient Greeks ate the olives marinated, with vinegar or as sweets with honey; they also learned to make oil out of olives. The olive oil takes special place; the local farmers treat it with a deep respect and value it higher than even wine. During all its long history it has been playing many roles starting from currency unit and to a medicine. Olive-growing became a basis of agriculture for practical Greeks and was a part of so-called Mediterranean triad: barley, grapes and olives. In ancient Russia the Greeks were even called as “Oliverers”.

The fruits of an olive tree in Ancient Greece were not only the profit-generating turnover units, but also, like anything else with philosopher Greeks at that times, the olive-growing borne a symbolic meaning endowed by multiple myths. According to one of ancient Greek myth, when Athena won Poseidon in their contest, she became a tutelary goddess of the Athenians and presented to them a sacred Olive tree. The olive branch became for Greeks a symbol of piece and tranquility, joy and life, while during Olympic Games it is believed to be a symbol of victory.

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