WAY OF LIFE OLIVES In Greece olive oil flows like an emerald river as though it were the very life blood of the population. It is used in cooking, medicines, cosmetics and soaps (and was a fuel for lamps) but harvesting the olives is very labour intensive. The love of olive-growers for their trees is passed on from generation to generation and family members return to their villages each year to pick the crop. If you visit in December you will spot them in the groves collecting the olives in nets and pruning the trees. You will also see sacks of olives piled high outside presses which operate all night to process the fruit before it degrades.