THE INFAMOUS KALAMATA...
Traditionally grown in the city of (ummmm) Kalamata!!! These days they have a PDO (protected designation of origin) whereby to be a true Kalamata they have to be grown in the beautiful South-western Peloponnese region.
Their lovely distinct burgundy colour comes from being left on the trees until September and late January.... which is a fairly late harvest. And they are always fully ripened when harvested, you will never find a green Kalamata. (If you do best not to eat it!!)
Many Kalamata farmers grow different varieties of olive, but have a dedicated field for their Kalamata, which has been passed down through the generations. When it comes to harvesting, it is done by hand and requires the whole family to pitch in and help. Huge nets are spread under the olive trees and they slowly rake the branches until all the fruits have fallen into the nets below. They are then transferred to a universal hessian bag that holds a certain amount of olives and make their way to be cured.
This is 3 to 4-month curing/fermentation process in takes place in huge barrels which are kept in a dark, cool area until the last stages, when the barrels are wheeled out into the warm Greek sunshine. This gives them a little bit of sunny Greek love before they are shipped off to the not so warm but equally beautiful Lake District.