The olive tree is one of the oldest trees of the Mediterranean. It reigns for years under the Greek sun with its silvergold wreath as a symbol of peace, victory, serenity, fertility, immortality and prosperity. Recent archaeological researches in the Cyclades have brought to ligh fossilized olive leaves aged about 50,000 - 60,000 years!
It was considered a sacred symbol, when Goddess Athena offered an olive tree as a gift to the city of Athens and thenceforward she has been the patroness of Athens. The olive fruit symbolises the wisdom of the Goddess. Every year, with her guidance,it follows the same arduous journey that will turn it into olive oil. Likewise, the Goddess helps Odysseus to complete his journey - his ‘nostos’ - and return to his homeland, Ithaca.
The maternal tree hosts and nourishes the fruits of wisdom, just like Nymph Calypso affectionately cared for the wandering Odysseus. Goddess Athena, by mediating to Zeus, convinces him to advise the Nymph to let Odysseus go and continue his journey back home. Similarly, the journey of the olive fruit starts every year, in November.
The harvest of the olive, which is called ‘liomazoma’, has been one of the most significant agricultural activities in many parts of the Mediterranean for centuries. The olives are traditionally harvested by hand.
The olives fall on the ground and are collected in the so called «liopano», a specially designed net. Ritually, the olive harvest brings joy to the growers, in contrast to the grief Odysseus felt, when he saw his comrades losing their lives from Cyclops Polyphemus’s hands.
Once harvested, the olives are tranfered / taken to the olive-oil mill and with the aid of a powerful compressed air blower are separated from the leaves. In the same way, Goddess Athena closes the way to the winds and, by releasing only the favorable north wind, sends shipwrecked Odysseus on the coast of Scheria. Nausicaa, princess of the Phaeacians, leads Odysseus to the palace, clean and beautiful. Similarly,the olives are washed with water in order to be cleaned and reveal their discreet beauty.
Since ancient times, people have invented millstones for the extraction of the olive oil. The washed olives are carried to a special mechanical crusher. Once Odysseus realizes the great danger of Charybdis, he opts to pass by Scylla’s rock, which results in losing six companions.
Once the olives are crushed, an olive paste is formed, consisting of the liquid and solid components of the olives. The paste is kneaded and, by means of the centrifugal force, it is separated into solid, oil and water.The oil, as a lighter ingredient, is removed successfully.
Odysseus’s journey ends successfully since he manages to arrive in Ithaca. His wife, Penelope, recognizes him, only when he, through a riddle, reveals to her that their bed has been made of olive tree, deeply rooted in the ground. Odysseus restores his name and reasserts his place as the rightful king of Ithaca.
Therefore, extra virgin olive oil ΙΘΑΚΗ is ready to offer all its beauty, health and well-being to everyone who prefers it. Its beneficial and nutritious features travel around the world in a small bottle.