The Eleones Early Harvest is handpicked from olive trees of the Hondrolia variety of Mt Athos, Halkidiki. The Hondrolia is cultivated mainly in the Halkidiki peninsula. The variety is productive and resistant to cold. It is the most large-fruited variety of the Greek olive varieties with a ratio of flesh to core of 7-10:1 and sizes ranging from 120 to 140 olives per kilo. The Hondrolia of Halkidiki has dual use, producing good quality edible olives and olive oil production (oil yield :14-20%).
The fruit is known as Green Olive of Halkidiki and is one of the most recognized olives in many countries because of its large size. The trees selected for the creation of the Eleones Early Harvest are only the best and healthiest from the selected groves. The olives used must be unripe green and still on the tree. Olives that have fallen to the ground are not used. The harvest takes place in mid September each year and lasts for a couple of weeks. The olives are collected exclusively by hand so as not to injure the olives during harvesting and certainly not by beating the tree with poles as is common elsewhere. This collection technique may be a time consuming process, but it is the only way to ensure the highest quality product.
After harvest the olives are placed into special crates designed to prevent damage to the olives. Then the leaves and debris are immediately removed so there is nothing in each crate except the olives. The olives are taken to the mill for pressing on the day of harvest. After the pressing is completed the extracted olive oil is stored in special stainless steel tanks till it is bottled, ensuring that the flavor is not affected in any way by the container. When the day comes that the Eleones Early Harvest is to be bottled, the oil is filtered one last time to remove any natural sediment that occurs during the product’s settling period in the tank. The bottling process of Eleones Early Harvest is completed under very stringent quality control at all stages of the process according to international standards.