` Hephaestion Was a Friend of Alexander's, but Not Cretan Producers'

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Hephaestion Was a Friend of Alexander's, but Not Cretan Producers'

Jan. 15, 2020
By Costas Vasilopoulos

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The recent bad weather in Greece, called Hep­haes­tion by the mete­o­rol­o­gists after the clos­est friend of Alexan­der the Great, gave another blow to olive oil pro­duc­tion in Crete.

Wind gusts and hail storms swept away the olive dru­pes from the trees, adding to the woes of the grow­ers and pro­duc­ers of the island, after an ear­lier hit to the pro­duc­tion fruit pathogens had brought.

See more: 2019/20 Olive Har­vest Updates

The phe­nom­e­non mostly affected some areas where olives are picked late in the sea­son since most of the island’s har­vest was com­pleted early this year.

We have some late olive oil mak­ing ter­ri­to­ries, like the Fragka area in Her­ak­lion region, where the olives are har­vested in late Feb­ru­ary or early March,” Myron Hilentza­kis, the deputy direc­tor of the Agri­cul­tural Asso­ci­a­tion of Her­ak­lion, said. These olives are now gone. It is a tragic sit­u­a­tion.”

For the first time, 95 per­cent of all the mills on the island ceased their oper­a­tion at the end of Decem­ber, and 97 per­cent of the har­vest­ing was com­pleted,” he added.

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Con­se­quently, the cur­rent sea­son in Crete is noth­ing to be proud of, Hilentza­kis said, with the total olive oil quan­tity pro­duced falling far short of pro­jec­tions.

We had a lot of rain­fall in 2019 and we were expect­ing a pros­per­ous yield of olive oil, esti­mated at around 80,000 tons,” he said. But accord­ing to data from the local depart­ments of agri­cul­ture, the over­all quan­tity is only 37,000 tons. It is a huge decline. And another prob­lem is that only 17 per­cent of this quan­tity is extra vir­gin olive oil.”


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