Q: When is a Kalamata olive not a Kalamata olive?
Kalamata olives have been on the UK market for many years. What you may not be aware of is that they are in fact a variety of the Kalamon Olive, the trees they grow on also being called Kalamon.
Kalamata is a place
Kalamata is the capital city of the Prefecture area of Messina. Kalamata/Kalamon Olives have been grown in Messina, and next door in Sparta, for centuries.
However, in 1992 according to regulations 2081/92 and (EC) 510/06 and (EC) 509/06 the European Union has adopted the system for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin of agricultural products and food stuffs.
In short the new “Designation of Origin” regulation means the that if a food stuff has a particular characteristic or quality which is synonymous with a location or is particularly due to the particular geographical environment with its inherent natural and human factors, then that food stuff can carry the name of the geographical region. Other products of a similar nature cannot carry the name of the region if they were not grown there.
What does this mean for us?
This regulation does have it’s benefits for farmers, producers and consumers: the farmers are encouraged to switch to forms of integrated rural development through the diversification of rural production. The producers (especially those in the less favoured and remote areas) have the opportunity to promote their products with emphasis on the special and unique characteristic enabling them to command better prices. Consumers can purchase products knowing they are covered by the guarantees for production, processing and geographical origin.
Kalamata to Kalamon
Consequently, from now on olives grown, harvested and packed in an area of currently 10 miles radius around the city of Kalamata can be named Kalamata and should bear the PDO symbol. All other “Kalamat” olives should or are allowed to be called Kalamon and they are what we formerly known as Kalamata.