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Still not worth it

Extra virgin olive oil, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, used to be commonly found for around €5 a litre (£4.26) but now can cost up to €20.

Greece has also reported theft of olives in the groves. Panagiotis Tsafaris, an olive producer in the southern Peloponnese peninsula, has been robbed twice, with thieves using sticks at night to rake off the olives.

In some cases, entire branches are sawed off and loaded on to trucks for processing elsewhere.

The labour that goes into harvesting olvies means that it’s just not worth it at all.

There are machines used in big groves. But picking and then processing (you don’t just bung them in an oil extractor) by hand takes a ludicrously long time.

Authorities have also been cracking down on criminal organisations fraudulently using cheap vegetable oils to dilute what is being marketed as extra virgin.

That does make money, yes.

6 thoughts on “Still not worth it”

  1. I suspect that the perpetrtaors are not locals.

    In a similar vein to the sheep rustlers in the Midlands who only operate during certain times of the year.

  2. Bloke in Aberdeen

    I heard a while ago from Greek friends that ~50% of all olive trees in Greece go unharvested.
    They’re probably not all the right location, and may need a bit of pruning, but as you say Tim, the issue is the labour not the raw materials.

  3. Last time we lived in the country lots of olives around us. Roadside trees etc. Perhaps owned in the traditional, country, sense, of “That’s Joao’s”. Plantations were harvested, the odd ones rarely. And when they were it seemed to be rather more grandad and the urban kids doing something the old country way. That can’t be totally true as there are olive oil mills in every village, take olives in, get oil back. But certainly, there were plenty of trees we could have harvested if we’d wanted to.

  4. We had olive trees on the land in the mountains. No one ever showed the slightest interest in harvesting them.
    I really don’t get the olive oil thing. It’s OK at flavouring salads. But the Spanish insist on cooking with it. So everything tastes the same. Quite horrible. Makes chicken taste disgusting.

  5. When we went on a school holiday to the Rhineland we assumed that the peaches growing in a roadside hedge were like raspberries in Scotland – help yourself. An old woman appeared shaking a broom at us to persuade us otherwise.

  6. “The labour that goes into harvesting olvies means that it’s just not worth it at all.” I’m not sure what olvies are, but the harvesting bit makes me think it’s agriculture-related.

    Don’t they have Mexicans in Greece?

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