Olive oil has for long been considered one of the greatest natural assets of the ancient world and a symbol of peace and prosperity. Although recorded history disagrees as to the date, let alone century, of its first cultivation, archaeological evidence suggests that olives were grown on the Greek Island of Crete, as well as the Eastern Mediterranean region as far back as 5000 BC. Kings and Queens of Egypt imported olive oil from Crete as well as Syria and Canaan prior to 2000 BC, making it one of the earliest trading commodities. The olive oil trade blossomed and expanded during this period, becoming a symbol of wealth and prominence amongst traders, and the agents and the clientele who they served. Even the ancient Greek athletes rubbed it over their bodies prior to competing in games.
The first recorded description of olive oil extraction is cited in the Old Testament Bible, coincidental to the Jews exodus from Egypt taking place during the 13th century BC. Well preserved stone tablets from this period, having survived fire, flood, and pillaging armies, record the dietary practices of people during this period which describe significant consumption of olives and olive oil. Being first used in religious and sacrificial ceremonies, the olive “berries” were hand squeezed with the precious oil being stored in large urns under the watchful eye of priests and palace guards.
Commercial olive presses for oil extraction for human consumption and as a skin moisturizer appeared prior to approximately 1000 BC. Many presses from the Roman Empire period of approximately 300 AD have survived and are still in operation today. These presses, primarily consisting of huge circular stone mortars (similar to mill stones), ground the olives and pumice with great efficiency increasing production practices which allowed for the availability of the olive beyond the aristocracy, with access and consumption by the common people.
Olive tree cultivation having begun in Crete soon found its way to Italy by way of Greek merchants by the 12th century. Having a favorable climate primarily in Southern Italy, it eventually found its way to Spain through the expansion of the Roman Empire. Throughout the Middle Ages, olive oil production and consumption continued its steady growth through many cultures and societies. Spanish missionaries and explorers first introduced the olive to the Americas in the mid-16th century. In the United States, olive tree production began in California in the late 18th century.
Jedwards International has a rich history as a bulk wholesale supplier of organic, virgin, and pure olive oil. Jedwards is also a supplier of bulk pomace and squalane olive oil which is derived from the fruit and natural compounds found in olive oil. Jedward’s olive oils are cold pressed and are imported from Spain, Italy, and Tunisia.
Click here to check out Jedward’s bulk wholesale pricing of olive oil.