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In the ancient district of Sitia and especially in Kato Zakro, olives were found in a well that date back to 3.500 years.

Here the “Minoites” transformed the wild olive trees to cultivated ones and produced olive oil and the wild vines to vines that produce wine.

That’s how the exponential growth of merchandise of the Minoan civilization began. The findings in the area of Orino indicate that Minoans passed from here.

The history of the olive oil production according to testimonies started with the “ALETOURGIA” ( a sack full of olives and over it a big heavy stone that crushes the fruit and then the olive oil was taken).

From 1850 the way that olive oil was produced was by FABRIKA-BOTZ WORKER (a small threshing floor where heavy stones were rotated by workers with their hands)

Then the fabrika got bigger to a bigger threshing floor with bigger rocks where it was rotated by donkeys. Later manual presses arrived followed by electronic ones to evolve to today’s sophisticated complexes.

Today the Mediterranean diet constantly gains ground. The consumption of olive oil has been increasing globally. People around the world seeing the nutritional value of olive oil have replaced animal fats with olive oil changing their dietary habits.

My grandfather told me that olive oil in the old years that there were no money it constituted a basic kind of exchange among the people and merchants  meaning that when somebody wanted to buy essential goods (sugar, salt, bread, milk) instead of money they gave olive oil.

My grandfathers’ testimonials state that olive oil in those years, that there weren’t any medicine, they used it for therapeutic purposes, when a person or animal had marks on their body, muscle aches, rushes,  hits in different places of the body, they coated with olive oil.

It is no coincidence that queens and kings of ancient times coated with olive oil for relaxation purposes. The warriors after the battle to sooth their aches, the athletes after every game. Furthermore they used it for lighting purposes. They lighted their houses with a small lamp ( a utensil where they put a wet cloth with olive oil and fired it at the edge of it)

Also, when they wanted to preserve several kind of food like olives, cheese, and meat they put them inside barrels and on top of them they covered it with olive oil.

 

Watch a video on how olive oil is produced in a traditional oil press.