The high production of Kalamon table olives in Greece

The high production of Kalamon table olives in Greece
  • PublishedNovember 30, 2022

“Kalamon” table olives is the one of the three dominant varieties in Greece. With a dark black color, thin skin and small core in comparison with the total fruit, they have fairly gained the nickname “black queen”.

The other two main varieties are the following:

The first variety is “Konservolia” (with many other synonyms related to the cultivation place, e.g., Amfissis) known as the most historic variety. The second one is really rapidly expanding under the name “Chalkidikis” that comes from the homonymous peninsula in Macedonia in North Greece. Both of them meet a very profitable year in terms of the quantities that have been produced within previous years.

Furthermore, Kalamon is the latest ripening (being collected at this period of year). After two very poor crops, this year (2022/2023) seems to meet a very rare and superb coincidence. In particular, a great production that surpasses the 130.000 tones at high prices, due to the low production of Spain and Egypt. Such a coincidence is really rare for Greek producers.

Nevertheless, two problems overshadow the above profitable story. To begin with, all the producing costs have been skyrocketed (especially those related to energy) and agricultural labor which is in scarcity. Secondly, the olive trees could produce more but only at the cost of the size of olive fruits and as well known, the size of the olive fruits is a crucial factor that determines the value and the price of the product.

A spot analysis reveals significant discrepancies among various producing areas.

In Laconia the highest price of 200 fruits/kilo corresponds to 1,40€/kg, but smaller sizes fall to 1,20€/kg for the size of 240 fruits/kg, even 0,70 €/kg the 340 pieces/kg.

In the area Livanates at Pfthiotis prices are almost the same with Laconia, depending on the merchant buyers.

Aitoloakarnania produces the main quantities but at slightly lower prices (e.g. 1,25€/kg the size of 200 fruits/kg) with reductions for the smaller sizes accordingly.

The prefecture of Messinia enjoys a slightly higher prices of 0,10 – 0,15 €/kg due to the recognized PDO Kalamata olives but at restricted quantities.


The strategy of producers

Facing such a situation, even though the great majority of producers have only a small number of cooperatives or producer organizations are following a quite simple strategic.

All the very small sizes of 300 and more fruits per kilo are driven to the olive oil milts exploiting the relative high prices of olive oil which surpass the 4,30 €/kg. Worth to say that olive fruits are fresh, directly from the olive groves, so the olive oil is characterized as extra virgin which means low acidity.

The revenues from the direct transactions of olive oil permit to the producers not to sell now their olives but to store them into their own plastic tanks in order to sell them in the future, hoping that prices will rise during 2023.

It is difficult to say now if the Greek producer’s strategy will be proved finally successful, whereas it is very probable that sooner or later the Greek market of the “black queen”, Kalamon olives, will suffer from a significant deficit of quantities to meet the demand.


Italia Olivicola
Written By
Vassilis Zampounis