The olive tree (Olea europaea) is an evergreen tree, rarely growing taller than 15 metres, native to the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia.
It originally came from Asia Minor and spread along the Mediterranean coasts. Palestine, Syria and Crete began cultivating the edible olive more than five to six thousand years ago.
Olives were grown commercially in Crete as long ago as 3000BC and are thought to have been the source behind the wealth of the Minoans.
Indeed, the Cretans had a shipping fleet solely to export their oil (and the cosmetics they also made from it) to the Egyptians and Greeks.
All aspects of the tree have been used - the fruit for oil and for table olives, the beautiful wood for utensils, fine furniture and ornaments and the leaves for medicine.
In Greek mythology, Thetis was the leader of the Nereids or sea nymphs.
Her wedding to the mortal, Peleus, was celebrated on Mount Pelion.
She was the mother of Achilles.
To escape the persistent interest of Zeus, she once assumed the guise of a cuttlefish.
It is this legend from where the cooperative's name of Sipias originates - sipias being the Greek word for cuttlefish.
We chose to remember and honour the goddess Thetis by naming our pure oil after her. Pelion was also Chiron and the Centaurs' home
Our olive press
Green olives which are still unripe can be picked from as early as September.
These olives produce the much sought after Green oil with the smallest yield but the most intense and fruity flavour and aroma.
This oil also has the longest shelf life.
Harvesting of the other olives takes place later on as they ripen and turn black, providing more juice per fruit but which is milder, with a less pungent taste and smell.
The olives are hand picked to avoid damaging them and are taken as quickly as possible to the mill to prevent the acidity in them rising thus ensuring that the oil is of the highest quality.
Olives should be crushed within 24 hours of being picked.
They are crushed and pulped and the juice is collected and put through a centrifugal separator, where the rapid spinning eliminates all the remaining water and impurities from the oil.