Olive oil mill in Messinia

Only a few weeks remain until the olive har­vest sea­son begins in Greece, and the con­di­tions seem favor­able for a sub­stan­tial crop with most olive oil pro­duc­ing ter­ri­to­ries rebound­ing from last year’s poor har­vest.

Some early esti­ma­tions from indus­try experts pre­dict that the coun­try’s over­all olive oil yield will reach 240,000 tons, while some more opti­mistic pro­jec­tions esti­mate between 280,000 and 300,000 tons, a big improve­ment from last year’s small pro­duc­tion of fewer than 200,000 tons.

This sea­son we had zero prob­lems with the fruit fly and other pathogens, so we expect olive oils of very low acid­ity and of excel­lent qual­ity.- Giorgos Korinnis, an agri­cul­tur­ist from Laconia

Most of the olive oil pro­duc­ers, mill own­ers, and agri­cul­tur­ists con­tacted this week by Olive Oil Times were opti­mistic, set­ting the bar high for a good crop through­out the coun­try.

Giorgos Korinnis, an Agriculturist from Laconia, said the new har­vest sea­son will meet the expec­ta­tions of local pro­duc­ers, with olive oil pro­duc­tion for the region likely reach­ing the 25,000 tons that were pro­duced in the 2017/​18 har­vest­ing period.

See more: 2019 Harvest News

“This sea­son we had zero prob­lems with the fruit fly and other pathogens, so we expect olive oils of very low acid­ity and of excel­lent qual­ity,” Korinnis said. “We pre­dict to get around 80 per­cent of the pro­duc­tion we had two years ago in terms of quan­tity. I can’t pro­vide a bet­ter esti­mate, because a large por­tion of the table olives we grow here, due to their big­ger than usual size this year, will be used to make oil and will con­tribute to the total quan­tity of olive oil pro­duced in the region.”

Aristotelis Panagopoulos, a mill owner from the neigh­bor­ing Messinia, an area that pro­duces more than 50,000 tons of qual­ity olive oil in good times, also pre­dicts that this year’s har­vest will be a big improve­ment com­pared with the pre­vi­ous one.

“The past sea­son was highly prob­lem­atic, with the main cause being the fruit fly,” Panagopoulos said. “Now things are look­ing much bet­ter. The fruit fly is absent and the only issue is that, despite that the blos­som­ing of the olive trees was fine, the pol­li­na­tion of the flow­ers in some areas was incom­plete. But all in all, I expect a very good sea­son with qual­ity olive oils.”

Grove at Goutis Estate

Other pro­duc­ers and agri­cul­tur­ists from Messinia told Olive Oil Times that there are no infec­tions from the fruit fly in the olive groves of the region so far, but the next two months are cru­cial for any man­i­fes­ta­tion of the pest.

Their only con­cern was that the olive dru­pes in some areas are dehy­drated due to the pro­longed dry weather, but they explained that this is a reversible sit­u­a­tion pro­vided that proper irri­ga­tion is applied on time.

The Mycenaean-based olive oil pro­ducer and exporter Ioannis Kampouris said that there are no prob­lems with the fruit fly in Peloponnesus, and he expects a good har­vest both in terms of quan­tity and qual­ity that will allow Greek olive oil to com­mand high prices abroad.

Moving north to Halkidiki, grower and mill owner Margaritis Schinas antic­i­pates the olive oil pro­duc­tion to approach the lev­els of their best har­vest­ing sea­sons when the area was mak­ing around 2,000 tons of olive oil.

“The har­vest in our area will begin in late October and I expect a strong yield sim­i­lar to two years ago,” Schinas said. “All five mills located on the Kassandra penin­sula of Halkidiki will open this year, con­trary to last sea­son when only ours oper­ated due to the very lim­ited pro­duc­tion. We expect to get qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil of very low acid­ity rang­ing at 0.2 to 0.3 per­cent.”

The island of Lesvos had a dis­mal har­vest last sea­son, with less than 5,000 tons of olive oil pro­duced com­pared to 12,000 tons in the 2017/​18 sea­son. But now the tables are turned and local pro­duc­ers are in for a strong yield, as the local Department of Agriculture told Olive Oil Times.

“The whole island is expected to pro­duce around 17,500 tons of olive oil,” they said. “It is going to be a great sea­son with a near-record pro­duc­tion and the high­est in recent years. We per­formed timely crop-dust­ing oper­a­tions and only now we observe a min­i­mal man­i­fes­ta­tion of the fruit fly in cer­tain areas.”

The oil mill of Despina Blavaki is in Crete, the Greek island that hosts more than 13 mil­lion olive trees and nor­mally accounts for one-third of the coun­try’s total olive oil pro­duc­tion. They expect a good har­vest of qual­ity olive oil, with the quan­tity being close to last sea­son’s over­all pro­duc­tion.

“The olive oil of the pre­vi­ous sea­son was a bit heavy with high lev­els of acid­ity,” pro­duc­ers at the mill told Olive Oil Times. “But this year we expect to get extra vir­gin olive oil of low acid­ity and high qual­ity. In the Heraklion region, there will be vari­a­tions in pro­duc­tion, with some areas giv­ing a strong yield and oth­ers only half of their usual out­put of olive oil. Still, we esti­mate that the yield of the whole region will reach 70,000 tons of olive oil, almost sim­i­lar to last sea­son.”

On the west side of Crete near Chania, an olive oil pro­ducer and bot­tler, Eftychios Androulakis, bets more on the qual­ity than the quan­tity of olive oil for the com­ing sea­son.

“The har­vest in our area will start in about two weeks,” Androulakis told Olive Oil Times. “The Tsounati and Koroneiki vari­eties we grow will likely give around 80 per­cent of their usual out­put. We did not have any prob­lems with drought since the past win­ter was very heavy with a lot of rain­fall that has kept the soil moist.”

Androulakis also expressed some reser­va­tions for the upcom­ing yield of olive oil due to some occur­rences of the fruit fly in the area, esti­mat­ing that the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of the bug will emerge in about one mon­th’s time, pos­ing a poten­tial dan­ger to the har­vest.

“All things con­sid­ered, I antic­i­pate a good sea­son in terms of qual­ity but not quan­tity,” he con­cluded.




Comments

More articles on: , , ,