The number of olive trees is estimated between 3 - 6 million, with some of them to be over 400 years old. Today, from Pantokratoras mountain, the highest point of the island almost up to the shorelines, olive trees are the dominant characteristic of the landscapes. Corfu’s olive production account for almost 3% of the world’s olive oil! In this case of the Corfiot olive oil the quantity is corresponding to the quality. The “Lianolia”, as this type of the local olive is named is quite different from the species found in the rest of Greece, especially in taste.
The oldest reference of the olive tree dates back to the 7th Rhapsody of Homer’s Odyssey which refers to the olive trees that were in the palaces’ garden of Alkinoos, the king of Faiakes. Olive trees started to appear on the island during the Venetian Rule, when the locals were paid to plant and cultivate olive trees, replacing the old trees with new olive groves. Old references reveal that more than 1.000 oil mills existed on the island until 1950. Even the oil harvest Corfiot process is unique. Due to the olive tree’s height, the beating or ranking the branches was not possible. So, they spread out nests and wait for the fruit to fall. They collect them periodically from October to spring. Today, in the village of Kinopiastes, there is the Olive Museum of the island which first operated as an oil mill (late 19th century until the 70s), while after 2000 it was turned into a museum.