The Olive Tree

 

We all know the fruits of the olive tree. Many of us enjoy eating olives and more of us enjoy the oil. Olive trees have been an integral part of life in the Mediterranean for more than 5,000 years, maybe even 10,000. Not only are olives and olive oil tasty, but they both have many health benefits - even down to boiling the leaves and drinking as tea.
 
Olive Tree
 
Olive trees are usually laid out in groves in beautifully straight rows. This makes for ease of picking and ploughing. The ground underneath the trees needs to be clear for the nets to be spread when they are picked.
 
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The olive tree doesn't just provide us with food and medicine. Olive wood is a hard and strong wood which can be made into furniture or small household items - especially for the kitchen. It is also excellent firewood and burns for hours.
When dried and treated properly, olive wood lasts for years. The grain patterns are superb and alternate between rich dark browns and yellows.
No two pieces of olive wood are ever the same and each has very distinct characteristics.
In Kardamena  there is a shop which is dedicated to selling olive wood products. The larger pieces are made in their factory in Athens but some of the smaller pieces are turned, planed and finshed here.
 
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The wood is usually untreated but when you apply oil it literally becomes alive with a wonderful lustre which is unmatched by other woods. To keep pieces to be handed down to the next generation, oil your olive wood products regularly, with olive, peanut or sunflower oil. 
 
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Many different items are made from olive wood, be they useful or decorative. If you choose to take something home with you to remind you of your holiday, you will have it for years. Chopping boards especially, don't shrink, crack or splinter and are hygenic. The minimum of effort in looking after them will ensure that you won't have to replace them anytime soon!
 
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Backgammon sets and chess boards are something else you will find made from olive wood. Along with bowls, honey spoons, lemon juicers, drip mats, wine racks etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. The choice goes on.
It is unusual to find larger pieces for sale as olive wood is very sought after for its quality and colours and so is quite expensive. We can all have a small piece though!
 
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A symbol of peace and wisdom, the olive tree is woven into everyday fabic of life in Greece. There is not a day when we don't eat oil and olives - very often our own.
There are many families who live from olive trees.  It provides us with utensils and furniture, warmth in the winter and shade in the summer. Life would be much poorer without it.
 
 
 
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