Hamada Olive

Ark of taste
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The Samian olive, called Hamada, grows on and falls from the Throubolia tree, otherwise known as the old olive tree. The word Hamada is derived from the ancient Greek word hamai, which means ‘on the ground.’ The fallen Hamada olive, brown in color and the size of a small coin, matures naturally, but it requires special, microclimatic conditions to do so. The rains in September are crucial to the successful evolution of the Hamada olive. The Hamada’s growth also depends on a special fungus that thrives on the old olive trees. The ageing process begins when the olive is still green. Once the olive has matured, it can be eaten straight off the ground with no further processing. The Hamada is not easily harvested, as it must be hand picked from the brush off the soil surrounding the base of the tree, a time-consuming process. The light-colored Hamada olive is carefully selected and separated from the other black and green olives. This requires special attention during gathering, as it is often hard to distinguish Hamada olives from other similar looking varieties. Olives in Greece date back to antiquity. The Hamada olive is found in all areas of Samos Island where old Throubolia olive trees are cultivated to survive. They flourish in mild Mediterranean climates such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Asia Minor. In the Hellenic tradition, it is the symbol of peace and prosperity. The olive tree provides good wood for burning, and from its olives, it provides healthy olive oil for food. In addition, it is a source of essential oils with therapeutic value, which are extracted from the leaves. Due to its unique qualities and delicious taste, the Hamada olive is in great demand but is produced in small quantities and mostly for household use. During a good season, when enough olives are harvested, they may be found for sale directly from the producers. Because of the Hamada’s vulnerability to weather and the arduous, time-consuming gathering process, farmers often replace old olive trees with new species that are more efficient for oil production. With the decrease in the number of Throumoblia trees on Samos, the Hamada olives, and related agricultural knowledge and food traditions, are slowly becoming endangered.

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Egeo Meridionale

Production area:Samos Island

Other info


Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves


Nominated by:Demetra Foustanellas, Convivium leader for Slow Food Samos