The olive oil from thasos
Thasos is known for its olive oil, honey and marble.
The first thing you will see when you land on Thasos is great olive plantations. For years the people of Thasos have lived off of olives and fishing. To this day every family has a large number of olive trees in its possession. Once they used to work very hard on collecting and pruning of the olives. Nowadays, the work is usually done by workers from Albania and Bulgaria. They receive 30-40 euros per day plus food. However, the owners go with them to the collecting, especially men.
Collecting of green olives is in September, and black in November.
If you want to take a couple of kilos of fresh, green olives back home with you in September, you can ask the owners of the hotel you are staying in and they will definitely pick you an appointment and tell you where to pick some.
Olives do not generate a lot of income, given the cost of harvesting and the cost of olives and olive oil, which is quite low. The owners are usually satisfied if they have the olive oil they use in their meals as the net profit until the next harvest.
Of course, there are families that are seriously involved in the production of olives, and that brings them serious profits. In this case, irrigation is necessary, because if it is a dry year the crop is weak and the olives are small. Most of olives households are located on the west coast of the island, around Prinos.
The most significant olive harvest begins around November 1st. As we mentioned, black olives are harvested in that period. They are the richest in oil. In those days, due to the arrival of a large number of harvesting workers, Thassos is reviving (after a short break in the second half of October). Harvesting begins every morning at about 6am and returns are usually about 4pm. On the way back from the plantation, the olives are taken to the factory for processing. In all major cities in Thassos, there is an olive factory and is owned by the local community. Each family owns 1% of the factory’s shares, and the sale and purchase of shares are not allowed.
Oil owners choose whether the oil will be packaged glass bottles of 1l or in 2,5l, 5l or 16l cans. Each owner is obliged to leave the factory 10% of the total amount of oil.
All the factories use the traditional way of producing olive oil to produce cold squeezed oil. Earlier, as children passed the factory on their way to school, people say they would go to the factory to dip bread in oil. It was their meal.
Most islander population use only olive oil. It is even used for candles.
Second in use is corn oil, then sunflower.
In summer, due to the high heat in Limenaria, there is a strong smell due to the waste being thrown by the olive factory, so tourists often wonder what it is about. The smell is a bit unpleasant and many tourists find that smell annoying, especially for the first few days until they get used to it.
Recently, some smaller, private olive oil factories have started operating. One is located in Panagia. Of course, you can buy quality oil there, but at a slightly higher price. There you can also see what the production of the oil itself looks like. The factory is located near the central intersection in the village.
Considering that the wealth of families used to be measured by the number of olive trees, it is still a tradition today that a round number of olive trees are donated to the daughter as a dowry.
The oldest olive trees can be seen in Prinos and Rachoni and are about 900 years old, people say.
Our most sincere advice is not to return home without at least one can of 5l oil. Besides its excellent quality, it has a good price, between 23 and 28e for 5l. Organic oil is also available for sale and has a slightly higher price.
A bottle of one liter of oil from Thassos is about 5,5e.
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