The olive tree is often referenced when describing a successful or safe outcome of a challenging endeavor. The safe return of Odysseus to Ithaca, under the watchful eye of the goddess Athena, is placed under the sign of the olive tree.
In song V of the Odyssey, Calypso’s “olive-handle ax” becomes a marvelous tool for the weary and tired sailor who fells twenty trees to build what Homer, in a great understatement, calls a “raft”. On Scheria Island he makes a bed under two olive trees, “one wild, one planted”…”and covered himself up”. Finally Odysseus gouges the eye of Polyphemus the Cyclops with “a club of green olivewood hardened by fire.” Like all writers of Greek antiquity Homer saw in the olive tree a symbol of strength, beauty, order and abundance. With the turmoil that Greece faces these days, it seems appropriate that the olive tree can again become a symbol, a rallying cry for the Odysseus of the world who want to help the fatherland.
George Coundoussias is doing his part in helping Greece find her footing, as she faces the harsh financial demands of the European Community. Inheriting his father’s olive orchard in Aetolia in central-west Greece, Greenville based Coundoussias has committed to improve the output of the property, and increase the quality of life of the people who work there. The olive orchard of koutserelia trees is tended with utmost care by local villagers. The hand picking takes place with rakes attached on long poles. As the harvest progresses through the season, trees are pruned to expose future fruit to more sunlight. The culture is totally organic and the certification label from the EU will soon be seen on the packaging. The entire production of the harvest, a mild, extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed), is exported th the United States.
The Chef’s Corner newsletter does not promote or recommend products or services. But as a dual citizen of the United States and Europe, with the French President pledging to do the utmost to help’ Greece, and her Northern neighbors already saying goodbyes, George Coundoussias’ commitment is of great interest to me. This olive oil, sold under the label Oreno Hellenic Ladi, can be found at the Travelers Rest farmers market on Saturdays, with an online store to be soon available. It is of course the new “top-tier” EVOO at the Poinsett Club.
Until next time,
This article is from the September/October 2015 issue of “POINSETT LIFE Under the Magnolias” from The Poinsett Club which is located in Greenville, SC and one of the finest private clubs in America. The Poinsett Club was named a Platinum Club of America since 2003, and is classified as one of only 35 Five-star Private clubs in the US