Corfu, the island with 4,000,000 olive trees

olive

From north to south, vast olive groves with extremely tall olive trees gain the attention of visitors, since olive trees thrive along the coasts of Corfu.

It is estimated that on the island of Corfu there are approximately 4,000,000 centuries-old olive trees, with a calculated age of more than 500 years.

Olive cultivation represents the main source for income for Corfiots and in the past was the yardstick of calculating a person’s wealth and financial status. Moreover, even in the society of Corfu the categorization of its people into rankings of socioeconomic tiers was based on how extensive was a person’s olive production and the number of the olive trees who cultivated.

Olive was on Corfu a case of monoculture in the 18th century, since the Venetians, as a major power on the island of Corfu, profited from the large olive production.  As a result of this, olive trees were being increasingly cultivated around the island and olive became a principal product on the island of Corfu. 

Even nowadays, olive and olive oil production still remains a major agricultural occupation of the people in the countryside. Each household collects olives in the autumn and produces olive oil, stored at a cellar, like a tasteful treasure with value. The methods of collection and crushing of the most famous Corfiot variety “lianolia” varies with area, depending on how tall the olive tree is and the environmental conditions of each area. The cultivation of olive trees in most of the cases produces good results for growers.

Corfiot olive trees, the tallest in the areas of Greece, make growers happy when the production is large and extremely sad when there are yield losses.  Despite all these, these trees only add to the natural beauty, while they constitute the main ingredient of Corfiot gastronomy since olive oil is used in cooking, cosmetics and medicine for having healing properties.

Olive oil, which Homer called “liquid gold” is a great feature of the Corfiot culture, playing a vital role in the life of locals.