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These first nurserymen and agriculturists probably also selected for varieties that came into bearing early, produced heavy yields every year, grew on poor soils in arid areas, and were easy to harvest.The spread of the olive tree in commerce is well documented. Records indicate the introduction of olives into Greece, Egypt, and western Turkey.The spread of the olive tree probably coincided with the vegetative propagation and trade of superior wine grape, date palms, and fig selections.
However, it is also common to see the same cultivars with different names and, in some cases, different cultivars with the same name.The greatest expansion of olive oil production came after the 1700s, when large plantings of olives, largely relegated to the worst land, were made to supply the growing populations of cities.In the late 19th and 20th centuries, the development of low-cost solvent extraction techniques for seed oils and the use of other sources for light (gas and electricity) resulted in a drop in the demand for olive oil.There are about 19 classic styles of olive oil produced in the world, primarily based on specific varieties grown in different regions.In some cases oils are made with a blend of regional varieties. The author discusses six of the world's most influential olive oil varieties ‘Picual’, ‘Coratina’, ‘Koroneiki’, ‘Arbequina’, ‘Frantoio’, and ‘Leccino’; covers some horticultural history of oil olive cultivation and processing; and describes the most current trends toward superhigh-density plantings and automated continuous oil processing.