colorful houses on a hillside in the village of Plomari, Lesvos

Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises (HAE) was founded in 2013 on the Aegean island of Lesvos, Greece’s third largest island. Wide expanses of olive groves cover nearly 80% of the island’s arable land. In fact, with eleven million olive trees on its terraced hills, Lesvos has the largest number of olive trees per capita in the world: 126 trees per person.

Anoskeli olive oil bottles, bowls of olive oil, rusks, and small tasting glasses

Just inside the southern border of the Kolymvari Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) west of Chania, Crete, the little village of Anoskeli is nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains. There the seven Mamidakis siblings were born and raised among thousands of olive trees, grapevines, and citrus trees. And there they started their olive oil business.

Yanni’s different colored olive oil tins in a row

Yanni's Olive Grove is a family business in Nea Potidaia, Chalkidiki, in northern Greece. In the last three years, Yanni’s extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) have received 35 awards at major international olive oil competitions, including acclaim as ultra-healthy EVOOs and listings as some of the Top EVOOs of the World, according to the EVOO World Ranking.

Chloe Dimitriadis preparing olive paste for pressing on a pile of white pressing filters, in front of Biolea's stone mill

Biolea was born when Yiorgos Dimitriadis returned to his native Crete in the early 1990s and decided to rejuvenate the olive groves that had been in his family for five generations. Determined to be kind to the environment, he turned to organic olive cultivation and dedicated himself to fulfilling his vision of high quality, artisanal olive oil production.

3 different Elawon olive oil bottles in a row

What happens when a successful teacher of ancient languages, owner of the popular Synchrono private tutoring schools in Athens, ventures into the olive oil world? He takes Homer’s description of olive oil as “liquid gold” literally and adds gold flakes to the extra virgin olive oil that has long engaged the hearts and minds of his ancestors and his country.

Three people harvesting olives with nets under a tree, hills in the background

The Mihelakis family’s Kolympari S.A. olive oil company near Chania in northwest Crete is continuing the time honored traditions of true artisans who have created fine extra virgin olive oils from the Koroneiki olives that have been harvested for centuries from olive groves in their region, which offers the perfect climatological conditions for olives.

Woman bending over to gather olives into a plastic crate from a large pile on a net, during Argali's olive harvest in November 2015

Giovanni Bianchi is an Italian computer programmer who works in Rome. He is also the producer of Argali Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which was judged one of the best olive oils in the world this year. Proud to produce one of the best Greek olive oils, he says his “dream would be to return to Greece and make this great passion my job.”

Kyriakos Makratzis, his son, and their dog in their olive grove in Crete

Kyriakos Makratzis traveled the world as a ship captain for fifteen years. He took a break each autumn to help with the olive harvest on his family’s farm in Kontomari, Platanias, Crete, since the olives seemed to call to him across the seas. Then, after his first son was born, he gave up his seafaring and his respected position to return to his roots.

Elea olive oil bottle and box

Since 1860, the Katsetos family has owned an estate in the sun drenched hills of Greece’s Mani peninsula. That estate now provides the fruit for a superlative quality olive oil that is luscious and soft with a full, round body and a strong fruity aroma. With hints of papaya and distinct floral notes, it evokes fields of buttercups and long summer days.