Olive

Olive

The olive tree, Olea europaea, is an evergreen tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 m (26–49 ft) in height. The silvery green leaves are oblong, measuring 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.

The small white, feathery flowers, with ten-cleft calyx and corolla, two stamens and bifid stigma, are borne generally on the previous year's wood, in racemes springing from the axils of the leaves.

The fruit is a small drupe 1–2.5 cm (0.39–0.98 in) long, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in orchard cultivars. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. Canned black olives may contain chemicals (usually ferrous sulfate) that artificially turn them black.

Olive in Akhisar

Formerly known for tobacco production, Akhisar has become the country’s olive production center.
Tobacco fields have been replaced by olive groves. Some 12 million olive trees planted in the district have resulted in the establishment of new industrial plants. Over 280 olive and olive oil factories have been built in the last decade. In 2006 alone 63 factories were established, convincing district officials to set up an organized industrial zone. Akhisar became the center of Turkey’s table olive production in the early 1990s.

As tobacco production, a popular branch of business until then, started to bring diminishing returns, producers began to look for other types of products. As olive trees planted in the tobacco fields yielded high returns, they planted olive trees everywhere. Turkey’s youngest olive groves can be found in this district. The highest production rate for table olives was in a region of Spain and in Gemlik. But since four types of table olives, including the Gemlik type, are produced in Akhisar, it became a center of focus for producers.

The number of table olive-producing plants in the district rose from three in 1993 to 285 by the end of 2006. Twenty-two of these plants produce olive oil whereas others produce table olive. The olive oil plants have a yearly production capacity of 25,000 tons. Two hundred sixty-three plants producing olives have a capacity of over 150,000 tons. The olive plants provide employment for some 3,000 people. The number of employed people rises to 5,000 together when seasonal workers are included.

In addition to the modern enterprises set up in recent years, almost every olive farmer has a well of olive brine.  Most of the olives produced in this country are put on the domestic market. Exporting companies send the olives to many countries including USA and UAE. 

Industrialists who invested in the olive industry say Akhisar is the best location thanks to its high-quality raw materials.

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