More About Turkish Olive Oil
The country of Turkey is one of the world's major olive producers, after great efforts in the last 10 years to both increase national olive yield and the number of olive processing facilities. Today Turkey ranks 4th in production worldwide. In addition to the many new firms active in the extraction and packaging of olive oil, there has also been strides made in improving quality, with an emphasis on early harvest production. Recent yields show production averaging around 200,000 tons of olive oil produced annually.
The southeastern part of the Anatolian peninsula is often considered one of the birthplaces of the olive tree. Olive oil production in Turkey dates to at least the 6th century BCE, as ancient olive oil pressing facilities from this time have been discovered near the city of Izmir. The majority of olive trees in Turkey grow in coastal areas along the Aegean Sea, with some trees considered to be more than a thousand years old. As the Turkish people use olive oil in most cooking preparations, traditional Turkish olive oil can be quite mild and on the riper side. The main olive variety produced in Northern Turkey is the Ayvalik (aka Edremit) with the Memechik variety most common in the south of the country. The Gemlik and Bodrum varieties are the most common table olives produced in Turkey.