HALKIDIKI OLIVES – GREECE (post-harvest)
The Halkidiki (green) olive variety is produced in Northern Greece and specifically in the areas around the Halkidiki peninsula, and in the region of Kavala in Central Macedonia. The 2018 Halkidiki olive started in mid-September and was completed by mid-October. The 2019 crop was expected to be very good in terms of volume and quality after a very bad crop in 2018 which led into reduced production and high prices. However a so-called “Supercell storm” in July changed everything. During the evening hours of Wednesday, July 10, 2019 storms of particular gravity, accompanied in most areas by fierce winds and by hail of large dimensions, affected regions of Central and Eastern Macedonia. The strongest phenomena have been identified in the prefecture of Halkidiki, where 7 people were killed, 120 people were injured and large devastation occurred in both urban and agricultural areas. As a result of this the Halkidiki olive groves were severely affected mostly by the hail and from the winds to a lesser degree. The catastrophic results on the olives showed during harvest. It is estimated that over 50% of the olive fruits got damaged by the hail and became un-usable for table olives. The total olives harvested in Halkidiki are estimated to be approx. 100 K tons out of which only 40-50 K tons are of good quality and “clean” of hail marks. All the rest are of inferior quality and will be used as B’ quality for various by-products or will be sent to the oil mill. The olive calibers are slightly smaller than in the previous crop and the average size is at 120 olives/kilo. In general, there is a shortage on smaller calibers. The prices which were estimated to be significantly reduced this year, remained at last year’s high levels, due to the very small crop as it ended up being after the July storm.
KALAMATA OLIVES – GREECE (pre-harvest)
The Kalamata olives grow mainly in three different regions in Greece. The Agrinion-Messolonghi region (Western Greece), the Livanata region in Central Greece and the Lakonia region (Sparta) in the Peloponnese. After a poor crop in 2018 in terms of volume, the new Kalamata olive crop is expected to be good in most growing regions. The low winter temperatures in the beginning of 2019 helped the trees produce a plentiful crop and reduced the olive fly population. The main characteristic of the new Kalamata crop though is that the olives are ripening much later than usual. Typically, the Kalamata harvest starts in mid to late October and is completed by mid to late November. This year, the harvest started in late November because the olives were not ripe enough and had not turned their color to the typical purple to dark brown which is the characteristic color of this varietal. The risk of the late harvest is that the un-harvested olives might be affected in case the temperatures drop below a certain level, which is always a possibility in December. The quality of the olives harvested so far is very good in all the growing regions, with a complete absence of diseases and defects as well as olive fly damages. If all the olives are harvested by the end of December as expected, we will be looking at a very good crop in terms of volume and quality. The calibers are expected to be relatively small and the average caliber in this crop will be between 230-260 olives per kilo. The prices of Kalamata olives in 2019-20 are expected to be lower compared to those a year ago, after the sharp price reduction that occurred in the Spring of 2019 for the olives harvested in 2018. There are still significant quantities of olives from the previous crop in the hands of the growers which are of inferior quality and are offered at very low prices. The size of the 2019 olive crop will determine the final prices which will become available in January 2020.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL – GREECE (pre-harvest)
The 2019 Greek Extra Virgin Olive oil production is expected to be better than the previous one in most regions except from Crete. The quality of the E/V oil, especially in the Peloponnese, is superb with excellent characteristics. Unfortunately, the island of Crete suffered from a sudden outbreak of the olive fly and other pathogens which is estimated to reduce the production by about 50% and affect the quality significantly. See below the article about Crete’s olive oil production as it was published by the Olive Oil Times.
Prices for high quality oils is gradually increasing with prices in Crete remaining low due to quality problems.
ROASTED PEPPERS – TURKEY/GREECE (post-harvest)
The Florina peppers in Greece and Capia peppers in Turkey had a relatively good crop in 2019. It is estimated that the harvested pepper tonnage will be bigger by 15%-20% compared to 2017.
The weather in the Eastern Mediterranean was favorable to the specific cultivation and it helped for the production to increase. No significant quality problems have been identified in the Turkish pepper production, which is considered good. Prices have been reduced compared to last year.