The Olive tree dates back to early ancient times in both biblical and classical writings. In these early writings, the olive oil is referenced as a symbol of both goodness and purity, and the tree represents peace and happiness. In ancient times, the oil was also burnt in sacred lamps at temples during the Olympic Games, and the victor was crowned with its leaves.
Olives have been cultivated since prehistoric times in Asia Minor. Today olives are commercially produced in Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Portugal, China, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Angola, South Africa, Uruguay, Afghanistan, Australia, New Zealand, and California. The Mediterranean area produces 93% of the olive production. Currently there are some 800 million olive trees being cultivated. California is the only state where olives are grown commercially. Over 90% of the olive production is used to make olive oil.
The Olive tree is considered an evergreen tree. These trees can live to be over 2,000 years old. They grow 20-40 feet high and begin to bear fruit between 4 and 8 years old. The tree blooms with small whitish flowers and have a wonderful fragrant.