The Aeithalis tree, with its elongated leaves, is grown in subtropical and temperate climates. Its scientific name is Olea Europaea. It ranges in height from three to twelve metres and its leaves are dark green on one side and silver on the other.

This tree endures very well over time and in many cases it survives for more than a century. If the trunk dies, it is still possible to regenerate the tree from its roots. It does not stand up well to the cold, but it can withstand drought and strong winds. The trees bloom in the spring and are fertilized by the wind. They do not produce fruit in the first 5-8 years and are not fully developed until they reach 20 years. They mature and reach the full yield of produce between the ages of 35-150 years and produce fruit, tirelessly every two years. The fruit matures from six to eight months after flowering. When the olives are mature, their color changes from green to black while still hanging on the twigs for a few weeks. For the production of olive oil olives are collected when mature, but this does not apply to the production of edible olives which may be picked from the trees when they are still green.

Olive oil is cloudy and dense like any natural juice, and has a bright olive green color. The clarity of the oil comes naturally, either over time or with artificial filtration. In fact, olive oil is the only kind of oil that can be eaten directly, as it comes straight from the fruit.

While olives and olive oil are great food for humans, olive leaves are fodder for animals, olive wood may be used as fuel, and also in the art of wood carving. Nothing is wasted. A reason why olive trees are considered blessed.

The prominent position of the olive tree in Greek history and mythology is no mystery. The mythological story of the conflict between Athena and Poseidon is well known, as well as how the city of Athens got its name. According to the myth, the city would take the name of the god who offered the greater gift it the city’s people. Poseidon struck a rock with his triaina and salty water came out. Athena struck the rock with her lance and an olive came out. The people of the city considered the offering of Athena as superior and named the city of Athens in her honor.


The soil around the trees must be dug twice a year and fertilizer is added when the trees come to bud. Pruning also takes place twice during the year and the trees are also sprayed against disease.

Organic farms however, do not participate in crop-spraying and are accordingly controlled by respective certifying bodies.

In the case of the olive groves of Eleones Messenia, the fertilizers used are exclusively organic, and trees are not sprayed. This part of the requirements for our certification as producers of organic products. This is how we grow our trees


  • Extra Virgin olive oil: the best quality of oil. The degree of acidity must not exceed 1%. Top quality olive oil has an acidity level of 0.4%-0.5%. This olive oil has a magnificent aroma, taste and color.
  • Virgin olive oil: very good quality oil, with a slightly higher acidity which should not exceed 1.5%. It has the aroma, taste and color similar to extra virgin olive oil.
  • Pure olive oil: good quality oil with good taste and rather more acidity which should not exceed 3.3%.
Another “unofficial” category that has emerged recently is that of biological olive oil. This olive oil product is certified for its organic cultivation and relates solely to the non-use of chemicals, fertilizers and other substances in the olive production. The organic cultivation of olive trees relates only to the organic nature of the cultivation process and not to its characteristics like acidity or type. In other words, it relates to treatment of the fruit, i.e. how it grows, is gathered and how the oil is extracted.

At Eleones Messinias we produce high quality, unprocessed, unfiltered extra virgin and organic olive oil. This results from the unique combination of all the necessary “secret ingredients” that produce exceptional quality olive oil. The type of olive, climate, subsoil ingredients, cultivation method, timing, method of harvesting are all combined uniquely to give an exceptional final product.


Air, heat and light are not friendly to olive oil. Proper storage requires hermetically sealed containers, placed in a dark and cool place. In this way the oil can be stored for up to two years. When kept in glass bottles however, more attention is needed.

It is not needed to keep olive oil in the refrigerator. In the case you will do so expect the color of the olive oil to blur. However, this does not mean that quality and taste will be negatively affected.  When left at room temperature, refrigerated olive oil will return to its normal state. 


Many people believe that the best olive oil is green in color.
Of course the color itself might be a parameter, but it is not the only reliable criterion of the quality or taste. Excellent quality oils have deviations in color and taste, depending on the region and type of olives. 


The production of olive oil is a relatively straight forward process, requiring only the mechanical crushing of the fruit. The liquid produced is a natural juice. As with each natural juice, olive oil is blurry and contains all the vitamins and trace elements of the fruit. Translucency of oil occurs in two ways.
The first and most common is filtering the oil which might withhold a big part of its natural ingredients. The second is the simplest. The full clarity of the oil is achieved naturally by letting its container undisrupted for a certain amount of time. 


Olive oil is used in all types of cooking or baking, frying, boiling and stewing. Although it maintains better coherence compared to other oils during frying you should not let it sizzle at very high temperatures, and it must always be strained after every use.
Fresh pure Virgin olive oil is best used as a complement to dishes when cooking has finished, rather than during it. 


If you try to eat olives direct from the tree, you will find that they have bad taste. This is because there are substances in the skin of the olive that make it bitter. There are different kinds of edible olives, round black ones (eg. Greek olives from Amfissa), elongated olives (e.g. Greek olives of Kalamata) and edible green olives which are in fact black olives collected before they mature.

Removing the bitterness to make olives edible requires a proceess that is carried out in several ways, depending on the region and type of olive.

In Messinia, the olives are usually put in a container with water containing 10% salt for 2-3 months. Then, after testing to see that the bitterness has faded away, olives are spliced with a blade, and then placed in water, vinegar and spices for 3 days. Then, in order to be maintained they are placed in olive oil.

In other areas, olives are stored using dry salt which removes the bitterness. The olives become shriveled (method used in Greece at Volos or Pilion). Another way is to steep them in water and then alternately rinse and steep over several months. After this procedure, salt is added and they are then stored in oil.

Sometimes thyme and dried orange leaves or other aromatic herbs are added to the previously bitter olives turning them into a great delicacy. 


  • Other than in Mediterranean countries, olive oil and olives are produced in China, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Angola, South America, Uruguay, Afghanistan, Australia, and in California, USA.
  • It is estimated that there are 800 million olive trees in the world, 93% of which are located in the Mediterranean region – the place of origin of the olives-and from where the top quality olive oil is produced.
  • The normal lifespan of an olive tree is 300-600 years, but many claim that there are olives over the age of 1,000 years. In fact, the ancient roots of the olive tree planted by Plato still survive where he planted it, a few dozen metres away from the School of Earth Sciences at Iera Odos, in the Centre of Athens. These green willowed branches have “absorbed” the history of hundreds of centuries.
  • There are more than 70 varieties of olive trees in the world.
  • Black olives are green olives that have not been left to mature.
  • Each tree gives an average of 40kg of fruit a year, the oil of which corresponds to 8-10% of that quantity.
  • All edible olive oil types have the same nutritional value: approximately 120 calories per soup spoon. However, since olive oil has such great taste, smaller quantities are needed compared to other vegetable oils.

Olive oil:

  • First appeared in cookery books 2,000 years ago.
  • Contains no cholesterol or salt.
  • Complements the taste of dishes, and because of its rich taste, a large amount is not required.
  • Can be used instead of butter or margarine in many cases.