Kalamata olives, named after the Greek city of Kalamata, have a rich history dating back thousands of years. These distinctive olives are known for their large size, dark purple to black color, and unique fruity flavor. They thrive in the Mediterranean climate of the southern Peloponnese region. Kalamata olives are a staple in Greek cuisine, used in salads, mezes, and various dishes. Their popularity has spread internationally due to their versatility. These olives hold Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in Greece, ensuring they are grown in the designated region and meet specific quality standards.
Olives grow well in areas with hot dry summers and cold winters. They prefer a lime rich soil with a pH of 7 or above and require good drainage. Whilst often seen as a drought-resistant tree, olives do require adequate water at flowering and fruit set to ensure good crops. If they are not irrigated, they tend to form a biennial cropping pattern. With a shallow root system, olives prefer a weed-free area below their canopy to reduce competition for both water and nutrients. Fertilise in autumn and spring by spreading an application of well-rotted chicken or cow manure over the soil out to the canopy drip-line. Olive trees fruit best in an open vase shape and should be pruned accordingly. Leave three to four branches and always remove any water shoots on the inside and any suckers at the base.