The olive tree is an evergreen, perennial, fruit-bearing tree belonging to the olive family (Oleaceae). Thirty species belong to the same family, including the jasmine, the ash, the lilac, and the phillyrea. Of the species Olea, only the familiar olive tree (Olea europaea) is especially interesting. There are two variations: wild (Olea europaea var. Oleaster) and cultivated (Olea europaea var. Sativa). The warm Mediterranean sun and the mild winters, along with the gentle and frequent rainfalls, help to produce growth for the olive tree.
The olive tree has a great lifespan and retains its productivity for centuries. For example, in the Peloponnesus as well as in Crete and Paxi, there are olive trees that are at least 1000 years old. The olive tree does not bear fruit for the first six years of its life.
Olive oil is the natural juice that is produced from the olive tree fruit by physical means (crushing, pressure, centrifugation, sinolea), without the addition of chemical refinements or further processes. That is why it can be immediately consumed, like all natural juices.