Olive groves adorn the great Tunisian Sahel reflections silvery green, covering 57 million feet over a third of the territory.
The Carthaginians, the time of the prestigious Carthage had made farming a science, and it is with the Treaty of agronomic Magon that olive cultivation was considerably enhanced.
Well evidenced by the numerous ruins of ancient mills such as the ruins of Sbeitla (former Sufetula) or as some old mills of different regions of Tunisia.
The mills were then operated by pulling a cow or a camel; fruits packed in kibbled alfa mats and stacked in the oil press, and it is the only force of arms than men’s’desperately to extricate finally this liquid gold.
Military technological innovations of the century, Tunisia today produces over 180,000 tons of olive oil per year, divided between the 1520 oil mills (with a total capacity of crushing 23,000 tonnes per day) over the country 1.6 million hectares which gives Tunisia the second highest after Spain, with nearly 19% of the global olive oil and the fourth largest in the world after Spain, Italy and Greece term production of olive oil.
The age of the olive harvest, the winter months, resulting in strong population migration to the coast from the poorer areas of the center of the country.
Olive growing, although seasonal, allows intensive mobilization and sometimes saving workers, especially women, who can alternate with their main activity, weaving. One in seven people live all or part of the olive oil in Tunisia.
In Tunisia, two main varieties of olive oil are grown:
– The variety “Chetoui” north and variety “CHEMLALI” in the center and south
There are also varieties like OUESLATI, the CHEMCHALI, the ZALMATI or ZARAZI.
For table olives assortment of varieties is no less important or are cited including:
the Meski, BESBESSI, BIDH HAMEM, LIMITED …
Perhaps to save their memory, because the olive tree is sacred in the Qur’an, or even because olive oil has miraculous virtues that no one can ignore.
Tunisia celebrates the olive, the third Sunday in November.
This may be an opportunity to discover ancient sites olive, attend competitions gathering and taste the different varieties of olives in the region, a time to reconnect with a timeless story to peasant traditions.
If you find one of these trees to bark wrinkled, cracked, wrinkled, lost near a highway or in the shade of one of these palaces to five stars, consider this pair of old age withoutthis winter that will extend a broad canvas to his feet and then, with gestures of those insured transmit knowledge from generation to generation, each one methodically peignera branch to make the fruit fall, the other, bent over the folds of her dress, scanning the ground with a practiced eye, in search of these precious pearls.
If there were only one tree to tell us the story of the world, it would be the olive tree, its gnarled branches as thick as the hands of a wise old man, keeper of a secular conscience as old as the earth , the tree with a thousand virtues, the shimmering tree.