More About Peloponnesian Olive Oil
The Peloponnese region is the large peninsula in the southwest of mainland Greece, with Ionian Sea along its west coast. With its abundant sunshine and favorable climate, this area is ideal for olive production. In the area of Messinia, an estimated 15 million olive trees cover almost 29% of total land, and 80% of the cultivated land. All told, the Peloponnese produces an average of 50,000 tons of olive oil each year, typically about 1/4 of Greece's total production. Most groves are owned by small families who deliver their olives to a regional mill, with the oil and profits shared amongst them.
Archaological evidence at Palace of Nestor dates olive oil production in the Peloponnese to at least 1300 BCE. Ancient Greek playwrite Euripides called this area “the land of the good fruit” for its beauty and its fertile rich earth. The land is home to the famed city of Sparta, however, today the capital and largest city is Kalamata. While Kalamata is famous for its olives, the olives most people know as 'Kalamata' are typically of the Kalamon variety and are primarily used for table olives. PDO Kalamata olive oil is made from the Koroneiki olive, the variety responsible for 95% of olive oil produced in the Peloponnese. Some of the best olive oil brands from this region are Greek Garden, My Olive Tree and Tagalakis.