Buoyed by Bountiful Harvest, High Prices, Greek Producers Celebrate a Strong Showing in New York

With 90 awards earned at the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, producers from Greece reaffirmed their devotion to quality.

(Photo: Mediterre Eurfood)
By Costas Vasilopoulos
May. 15, 2023 14:00 UTC
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(Photo: Mediterre Eurfood)

Once again, Greek olive oil pro­duc­ers, bot­tlers and exporters achieved out­stand­ing results in the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Olive oil brands from Greece won 90 awards (44 Gold and 46 Silver) at the 2023 NYIOOC, an impres­sive tally sec­ond only to the record-high 99 medals the coun­try earned in 2021.

We view this award as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and a reward for our efforts to intro­duce a high-added value prod­uct to a global mar­ket that is con­stantly evolv­ing.- Spiridon Anagnostopoulos, owner, Ranis

Greece ranked fourth in the com­pe­ti­tion among other pro­duc­ing coun­tries this year, indi­cat­ing the deter­mi­na­tion of Greek pro­duc­ers to achieve qual­ity.

The coun­try enjoyed an abun­dant pro­duc­tion of around 330,000 tons of olive oil in the 2022/23 crop year. Harvest, how­ever, was not unob­structed, with the lack of work­ers, the ris­ing pro­duc­tion costs, and the fruit fly emerg­ing as a threat in some areas of the coun­try, keep­ing grow­ers and pro­duc­ers occu­pied through­out the har­vest.

See Also:The Best EVOOs From Greece

Nevertheless, the boun­ti­ful country’s olive oil pro­duc­tion, com­bined with the wider global con­junc­ture, resulted in a favor­able har­vest sea­son for the sec­tor in Greece, with pro­ducer prices exceed­ing €6.00 for a kilo­gram of extra vir­gin olive oil.

What will be remem­bered from this [crop] year is that we had a good pro­duc­tion with unprece­dent­edly high [pro­ducer] prices, mainly due to the con­cur­rence of the war [in Ukraine] and the dra­matic rise in the prices of seed oils,” said Manolis Yiannoulis, head of EDOE, the national inter­pro­fes­sional olive oil asso­ci­a­tion.

These fac­tors helped Greek olive oil, and in com­bi­na­tion with the low Spanish pro­duc­tion, led to these high prices.”

Devotion and per­sis­tence in pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity olive oil made return­ing entrant Mediterre Eurofood a big win­ner among Greek par­tic­i­pants at the eleventh edi­tion of the World Competition: the com­pany from west­ern Peloponnese earned a total of five awards (two Gold and three Silver) for their line of extra vir­gin olive oils made from Koroneiki and Kolireiki olives.

The NYIOOC is, with­out doubt, the great­est inter­na­tional extra vir­gin olive oil com­pe­ti­tion,” Konstantinos Papadopoulos, the chief exec­u­tive of Mediterre Eurofood, told Olive Oil Times.

Being awarded in this con­test every year since 2015 is cer­tainly an honor and a great suc­cess,” he added. We believe that our care­ful and hard work com­bined with the con­tin­u­ous sci­en­tific research of our team of experts is reflected in our awards.”

Papadopoulos also noted that ris­ing global olive oil prices due to the reduced Spanish pro­duc­tion are not tran­sient, adding that their focus is on qual­ity now more than ever.

“[The] upward trend in the extra vir­gin olive oil prices is expected to con­tinue into next year,” he said. As a con­se­quence, the risk of oth­er­wise per­mis­si­ble mar­ket­ing of blends of olive oil with seed oils to gain a cost advan­tage is increas­ing.”

However, extra vir­gin olive oil has been proven to shield and enhance our health; there­fore, our com­mit­ment is to con­tinue cre­at­ing hon­est prod­ucts of the high­est qual­ity with respect for our staff, the pro­duc­ers and the envi­ron­ment,” Papadopoulos added.

Based in north­ern Makri, where olive trees aged thou­sands of years thrive, Alexandros Olive Mill once again mea­sured up to the require­ments of the com­pe­ti­tion earn­ing a Silver Award for its Alexandros Special Edition brand.

We are extremely happy that our olive oil has again been awarded at the great­est olive oil com­pe­ti­tion in the world,” owner Alexandros Voukoureslis told Olive Oil Times.

Voukoureslis described a change in the company’s tac­tics this year to har­vest the olives promptly.

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The 2022/23 crop year was dif­fi­cult with drought and a lack of labor­ers,” he said. Nevertheless, we har­vested 3 mil­lion kilo­grams of olives from our groves, start­ing oper­a­tions in early October.”

It was a race against time, har­vest­ing and milling day after day because we knew we would have prob­lems with qual­ity if the har­vest were delayed,” Voukoureslis added. This way, we achieved a good pro­duc­tion both in terms of quan­tity and qual­ity.”

Alexandros Olive Mill also received awards at the NYIOOC in 2020 and 2021. The pro­ducer noted that the com­pany refrained from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion last year since the adverse weather severely ham­pered olive oil pro­duc­tion in Makri.

Producers from olive oil-pro­duc­ing Greek islands also excelled in the World Olive Oil Competition.

Sigri from Lesbos, Kallas Natural Products from Rhodes and Silvergreen from Crete, the back­bone of the Greek olive oil indus­try and the Peloponnese, received awards in the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity con­test.

the-best-olive-oils-competitions-production-europe-buoyed-by-bountiful-harvest-high-prices-greek-producers-celebrate-a-strong-showing-in-new-york-olive-oil-times

(Photo: Silvergreen)

A sec­ond straight Gold Award at the NYIOOC makes us really proud,” cousins Andreas and Emmanuel Vantarakis, the own­ers of Silvergreen, told Olive Oil Times. It is a recog­ni­tion of our efforts to pro­duce a unique olive oil that is health-ben­e­fit­ing, sus­tain­ably pro­duced and deli­cious.”

Silvergreen received a Gold Award at the 2023 NYIOOC for Efkrato olive oil, a medium mono­va­ri­etal made from the local Tsounati vari­ety.

Our Efkrato extra vir­gin olive oil is pro­duced exclu­sively from Tsounati, an ancient Cretan vari­ety,” the two cousins added. It is fair to say that it is the opti­mized ver­sion of the same pure olive oil we grew up with.”

The Vantarakis cousins added that they apply cul­ti­va­tion meth­ods even stricter than the prin­ci­ples of organic farm­ing and con­tin­u­ously exper­i­ment with bio­dy­namic cul­ti­va­tion prac­tices.

We love our small olive groves and treat them like small gar­dens,” they said. In return, we enjoy not only the olive fruits and the excep­tional olive oil that comes from them but also snails — a famous Cretan del­i­cacy — wild aspara­gus, herbs, figs, native capers and oth­ers.”

First-time entrants from Greece also reached the podium at the 2023 NYIOOC.

A smooth and unwrin­kled har­vest cul­mi­nated with a Silver Award at the World Competition for Polymenakos Maxouli from the vil­lage of Lagio, south of Sparta, in Laconia.

the-best-olive-oils-competitions-production-europe-buoyed-by-bountiful-harvest-high-prices-greek-producers-celebrate-a-strong-showing-in-new-york-olive-oil-times

(Photo: Polymenakos Maxouli)

We have been in the olive oil busi­ness since 1999, and this has been the best crop year ever since,” owner Dimitris Polymenakos told Olive Oil Times.

We are extremely thrilled that our 300 Organic olive oil won a Silver Award,” he added. It rewards our team’s effort and hard work over the years.”

Ranis from the region of Achaea in the Peloponnese earned a Gold Award for the Castello del Barone Collector’s Edition mono­va­ri­etal, a high-polyphe­nol organic extra vir­gin made from early har­vested olives of the Patrini vari­ety (also known as Koutsourelia).

the-best-olive-oils-competitions-production-europe-buoyed-by-bountiful-harvest-high-prices-greek-producers-celebrate-a-strong-showing-in-new-york-olive-oil-times

Spiridon Anagnostopoulos

We are so delighted with the result in our first attempt at the com­pe­ti­tion,” owner and agron­o­mist Spiridon Anagnostopoulos told Olive Oil Times.

The olives are picked from cen­tury-old olive trees in mid-September each year while still green and processed imme­di­ately. Each crim­son bot­tle of the Castello del Barone extra vir­gin olive oil releases aro­mas of fresh herbs and tomato per­ceiv­able to the nose imme­di­ately after open­ing.

We view this award as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and a reward for our efforts to intro­duce a high-added value prod­uct to a global mar­ket that is con­stantly evolv­ing,” Anagnostopoulos said, acknowl­edg­ing at the same time that cli­mate change is the biggest threat to olive farm­ing in the area.

From my side as a tech­ni­cal agron­o­mist spe­cial­iz­ing in olive cul­ti­va­tion, I will con­tinue the effort at an increased pace, adapt­ing my exper­tise to the increas­ing chal­lenges and dif­fi­cul­ties pre­sented in olive cul­ti­va­tion due to cli­mate change,” he con­cluded.



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