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olive picking harvest season in crete greece

November in Crete means a lot of activity taking place in the olive groves, as it is the beginning of olive harvest. Depending on the weather throughout the year, as well as the type of olives, olive picking season lasts from the end of October to the middle of January.

As you might know, Greece is famous for its olive oil and is one of the leaders in the production of this premium quality “liquid gold”. Yearly, our country produces 350 000 tons of olive oil! Of course, Crete, famous for its gastronomy and agriculture, is one of the main olive oil producing regions in Greece.

Olive oil production in Crete dates back to the Minoan period. Back in these times, Cretans knew well the great value of their olive oil and worshipped it as a sacred gift from gods. Apart from gastronomy, they used it in medicine, perfumes and many other aspects of their daily life.

While some parts of the olive oil production process were automated, since the ancient times the technique mostly stayed the same. After shaking the branches, the olives are gathered in the nets that are placed on the soil, then they are sorted and cleaned from leaves and branches and transported to the olive oil factories. In the factories, the precious juice is squeezed out of the olives stone weight or machinery that is soon to turn into the oil we all love to use in our food.

Olive picking in Crete is hard labour but is often seen by the locals as a communal activity, where everyone – family, friends and workers participate, sharing a delicious hot meal and raki after the day of heavy work. Because Cretans know how to turn every activity into a feast!

For the visitors of our island, olive picking a great way to discover the authentic Cretan culture and local traditions. In Crete, there are many options to experience this type of agro- & eco-tourism. Not only Cretan olive oil producers but also some of the tourist accommodations offer olive picking as a volunteering activity. In addition to that, you may find more high-end gourmet options that include meals and factory tours.

One of such factories that located 15 minutes away from Platanias is Biolea. They provide factory tours & olive oil tasting for free and may organise olive picking tours for the visitors, as well. The owners are a wonderful family and we highly suggest you contacting them, in case you are interested in olive oil production!

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