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The olive flower is white and only flowers after four years.  Olive trees are harvested for the first time after 15 years.  The smallest is known as a ‘bullet’.  It takes 5 kilos of olives to make one litre of olive oil.  The largest type of olive is called a ‘Atlas’. The world consumes about 2.25 million tonnes of olive oil a year.
The average life of an olive tree is between 300 and 600 years. The oldest certified olive tree is more than 2000 years old. An olive branch appears on the national flags of seven nations, four US states and the flag of the United Nations. One city and three towns in the United States are called ‘Olive Branch’. Olive branches (2,550 of them) were used at the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens when the tradition of crowning Olympians with an olive spray was revived. Olives are rich in Vitamin E and ‘good fat’.
Your five daily portions of fruit can include 16 olives, which make one portion. In Greek mythology the goddess Athena gave the olive tree as a gift to the city of Athens. At the games at Olympia, a wreath of olive leaves was the prize. In early Greek and Hebrew cultures, it was a capital crime to destroy an olive tree. For centuries, the olive branch has represented a symbol of peace. The first vegetation brought back by a dove to Noah after the flood was a branch from an olive tree.
January 2022

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