The seasonal olive harvest in Crete is a special time to visit. Anyone can participate in this cultural and local tradition that dates back to ancient Greece.
What Happens During the Olive Harvest in Crete
Greece is famous for its top-quality olives and olive oil. In fact, Crete is considered one of the top olive producing destinations in the country.
During the month of November until mid-January, olive groves throughout the island are buzzing with activity. It’s the time of year to harvest olives and it is a communal affair. Whole villages, families and friends typically come together to help pick olives and prepare olive oil for the year. That’s because olive oil is part of life here.
Greek olive oil is said to be the world’s finest and it’s an essential ingredient in Greek cooking. In fact, Greece has 16 different Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) varieties of olive oil. This natural product often referred to as “liquid gold” is important to the Greek people in other ways. It has been used in traditional ceremonies and rituals since ancient times. Olive oil is a positive symbol in Greek culture and a necessary household staple revered for its wonderful health benefits. It’s no wonder Greeks lead the world in per capita olive oil consumption.
Winter City Break in Crete: Pick Olives
At the Amazing Villas, we’re proud to make our own olive oil. Our family and friends begin picking olives from our olive groves this time of year and we always need help! Our guests are welcome and invited to be part of this Cretan cultural tradition to help harvest our fine Greek olives. Guests can learn about traditional harvesting techniques, help transfer harvested olives to an olive press and watch as the precious “gold” is extracted. This is when the air fills with the familiar aromas many Greeks have come to love.
While in Rethymnon, Amazing Villa guests can learn even more about olive oil by taking a trip to local olive oil producers to see how our olive oil is made. There’s even an opportunity to visit ancient olive mills. Finally, for those who love to cook, they can even attend Cretan cooking workshops to learn how to incorporate our Cretan extra virgin olive oil into tasty Cretan dishes.
Come Join Us! Olive Harvest in Crete
Participating in the olive harvest of Crete is a great way to see another side to Greece. It is a chance to get a true taste of rural life and tradition that all Greeks appreciate because olive oil is so important to here. Have you ever harvested olives? Would you like to?