The Ancient Greeks believed the olive tree was a gift from the goddess Athena. The tree was considered sacred. To wear an olive wreath - supreme achievement, the olive branch - an offer of peace.

Image of five black olives.

Olive Picking Holidays

Around October we pick the olives for bottling. Brining takes about 2 – 3 weeks, then the eating olives are stored in oil or brine, flavoured with a variety of herbs like rosemary, oregano, chilli and garlic.

Join us in autumn for an olive picking holiday. Guests learn how to pick and treat olives for eating, and visit the pressers with the olives we use for oil. All guests join us for sundowner cocktails, wine and barbecues – and take home 2 litres of their own pressed olives.

Picture of beautiful olive grove.

Olive Trees & Olive Picking Holidays in Syros

Everyone on Syros has olive trees and everyone has some land. Even if they live in a house in Ermoupoli, they still maintain connection to family olive groves. At harvest time, Syrianis arrive at the various pressing houses with anything from a few plastic bags of olives to truck-loads. So having your own olive oil is quite normal, and looking after your own trees, harvesting and pruning alone is also normal. My eighty year old neighbours still collect their olives, climbing up ladders and singing to themselves.

We have around 50 trees at The Good Life, quite enough to keep us and our friends busy. Our olives are wonderful fat black eating olives, but we pick some of the trees earlier to have the smaller green olive that makes a good virgin oil. If you are looking for a truly special holiday this year, then come to Syros and join us in picking olives in autumn.

SEE MORE: Grape Picking Holidays in Syros

Process of pressing hand-picked olives and making olive oil. Guests visit the pressers during their olive picking holidays.
Picture of old people pruning and picking olives. Guests learn how to prune and pick olives during their olive picking holidays in Syros.

Fresh olive oil and health

The Journal of Neurology, Neuroscience & Psychiatry, 2013 did a 5 year trial of heart disease patients looking at a diet high in nuts and olive oil – findings included significantly reduced heart problems and also increased cognition.

Researchers claim that the inclusion of olive oil, because of it’s high levels of caffeic acid and tyrosol, reduces markers of inflammation in the central nervous system and has the ability to suppress neuroinflammation in the brain.

Other research (detailed in The China Study) suggests that a MedDiet, in which around 1 litre of green oil per week is consumed is the best strategy to decrease cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or mild cognitive impairment.

Olives in brine and olives in oil.

Greek Olive Oil ‘best in world’

Thirty-five extra virgin olive oils from Greece have achieved the distinction “Best in the World” for 2015 at the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC). 19 golds and 16 silver medals went to Greek producers. Greek producers submitted 168 entries, showing the enthusiasm of Greek growers for high quality oil production over mass commercial growing. As with Greek wine, Greek olive oil tends to be produced by smaller farms, more organic and traditional methods and in turn strives for higher standards.

SEE MORE: The Best Greek Olive Oils for 2015