` Warm Weather Taking Toll on Greek Olives

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Warm Weather Taking Toll on Greek Olives

Dec. 7, 2012
By Costas Vasilopoulos

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Despite expec­ta­tions for more olive oil com­ing out of the mills com­pared to last year, the warm and dry weather that pre­vailed the time period before the har­vest resulted in lower oil quan­ti­ties in cer­tain areas of south­ern Greece. Olive trees carry more olive dru­pes but the oil taken after pro­cess­ing is less, since the dry con­di­tions dis­fa­vored the oil for­ma­tion inside the dru­pes.

Sakis Geor­gopou­los, a pro­ducer at Ilia region in Pelo­pon­nesus, said that the out­put of olive pro­cess­ing is less than usual and prices for EVOO are down to 2.30 – 2.40 euros, antic­i­pat­ing a dif­fi­cult sea­son. The late rains of Sep­tem­ber didn’t really help; instead, they allowed for occur­rences of fungi in the olives.

Elias Koro­nios, a pro­ducer at Messinia region, was sur­prised to see one of his olive orchards giv­ing more than 40 sacks of olives com­pared to the usual 25 sacks, but he was highly dis­ap­pointed when he heard the news from the oil mill; the vol­ume of the oil was hardly equal to that of pre­vi­ous years when he had lower olive yield, mean­ing more effort for less rev­enue. There is even an ongo­ing process for com­pen­sat­ing the local olive oil pro­duc­ers for the dam­age caused by the drought.

So far, it seems that the inci­dent occurs only at low alti­tude cul­ti­va­tions and the trees located on hills or slopes — which mostly pro­duce high qual­ity olive oil — are unaf­fected.

As weather has become unsta­ble and unpre­dictable, farm­ers and oil pro­duc­ers should pre­pare to cope with phe­nom­e­nal predica­ments in the future. After all, it is the com­bi­na­tion of the spe­cial micro-cli­mate, ground mor­phol­ogy and cul­ti­vat­ing tech­niques that yield olive oil of supe­rior qual­ity in the var­i­ous regions of Greece. If one of the three com­po­nents is absent, then the model col­lapses.

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