The unnaturally warm weather prevailing in large parts of the country, with daytime temperatures hovering at around 20°C, could compromise the quality of some regions’ freshly-produced Greek extra virgin olive oil.
“The harvest has been delayed due to the weather conditions and the lack of workers,” said Yiorgos Kokkinos, a producer from Messenia in southern Peloponnese.
“However, the weather has not cooled off yet, and the existing high humidity helps the gloeosporium and the fruit fly thrive,” Kokkinos added. “All these have an impact on the quality of the olive oils, with the acidity levels ranging from 0.8 to 1 in the last few days. I see that high-quality olive oils are reducing, something that will eventually bring a rise in prices.”
Producers across the country are accustomed to colder weather this time of the year. This would have favored the olive harvest by keeping humidity levels low and preventing olive pests from emerging.
“The fact that it is hot and it doesn’t rain is bad,” said Vagelis Protogerakis, the head of the producers association of Heraklion. “The fruit fly is present and causes some damage. I hope that the weather will change so that we have no further problems.”
Meteorologists expect colder weather to set in across the country no sooner than mid-January. For the time being, warmer days — with temperatures rising by a few degrees — are expected in southern Greece and many of the islands, including Crete, at the beginning of 2023.