Framework

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Pensioner Panagiotis Avramopoulos leans on a trolley as he waits for his olive oil to be produced at a family-owned production plant in Velanidi village, about 200 miles west of Athens. Greece is the world's third-largest producer of olive oil and its leading consumer per capita, with a millennia-old tradition that still serves as a strong link between city dwellers and their rural ancestry.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

From left to right, Asimina Nikolopoulou, Tasos Nikolopoulos, Greek Orthodox Priest Dimitris Vlasopoulos and Yiannis Nikolopoulos picnic in an olive grove in the village of Kalo Pedi, Greece. Widespread ownership of olive groves among Greeks has helped maintain supplies to households as they struggle through a sixth year of recession.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

A worker holds harvested olives in Antonas village, about 200 miles west of Athens, in November 2013. The economic crisis has seen a return of Greeks to farm work in recent years.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

Dimitris Apostolopoulos harvests olives in Velanidi village, Greece. Apostolopoulos received half of the olive oil produced from his collection as payment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

Olives lie on a canvas tarp. Greece remains the world's highest per-capita consumer of olive oil despite the country's ongoing financial crisis.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

Greek Orthodox Priest Dimitris Vlasopoulos collects olives from a canvas tarp in Kalo Pedi village, Greece.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

Romanian workers transport sacks of olives in Anthonas, Greece.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

A Romanian worker unloads sacks of olives at a family-owned olive oil production plant in Velanidi, Greece. The Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development is advising Greece to allow the sale of olive oil blended with other vegetable oils in Greek supermarkets to make the industry more competitive. The practice is currently banned by law.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

A truck loads steaming olive pomace, the remains of olives after being pressed, which is collected to help power a nearby olive oil production plant in Velanidi, Greece.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

A customer watches olive oil pouring out of a processing machine at a family-owned plant in Velanidi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

Carpenter Giorgos Karabatsis sits by 50-liter containers at a family-owned oil-production plant in Velanidi, Greece. He owns hundreds of olive trees and each year collects olives to add to his family's income.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

Toula Tsagaroulia looks out the front door of her home in Velanidi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Petros Giannakouris / Associated Press

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Photo essay | Olive oil production in Greece

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Photo essay | Olive oil production in Greece

KALO PEDI, Greece — It was used to groom ancient Olympic athletes and remains a widely used modern staple in Greece’s diet. But olive oil could be the latest victim of the country’s grueling financial crisis.

The international Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development is advising Greece to allow the sale of olive oil blended with cheaper vegetable oils to make it more affordable — part of a series of recommendations to boost competition and pull the country out of recession in 2014.

Greece is the world’s third-largest producer of olive oil and its leading consumer per capita, with a millennia-old tradition that still serves as a strong link between city dwellers and their rural ancestry.

But purchasing power has been devastated by a recession that started in 2008 and austerity measures imposed for a massive international bailout.

The financial crisis has wiped out more than a fifth of the Greek economy and pushed unemployment up to more than 27%.

– Associated Press

1 Comment

  1. March 10, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Outrageous proposal. It is a generic proposal which is not supported by any concrete numbers, nor does it take into account the relationship of Greeks and olive oil. Why would a country that produces high quality olive oil, taint their product by adding various questionable vegetable oils? No, Greece needs to maintain the integrity of its olive oil.

    By: elenaeele

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