The Gerentes: A Greek Family Devoted to Olives and to OU KOSHER

Since 1750, Greek olives have been sacred to the Gerentes family. Our ancestors processed olives and in a barter economy traded them through Greece for other products, such as cereals, that were not produced in our home village, near Amfissa in Central Greece. That’s where it all started for us!

After many adventures and stories that would need pages to elaborate, our family’s olive business is now under the leadership of Nicholas Gerentes. From the age of six, in 1930, he has grown up in olives so you could say that brine (water and salt) runs through his arteries instead of blood. Nicholas has four children — Ari, Evi, Bessie and George — all of whom, in Greece and the United States, are dedicated to our family values.

Our main object is to export Greek olives of unmatched quality and taste all over the world. This is why we focus on exporting the best Greek olives in limited production that we can control. We buy and process only the best quality olives we can get, using a mixture of traditional methods and current technology.

Among our products, the most famous are the well-known black kalamata olives in all its variations — pitted, plain and sliced — along with our natural black olives and green round or long ones. Most of our exports are to the United States and Italy, to wholesalers, importers and distributors. Controlling the olives and brine levels is one of the most important things we focus on, as the olive is a live fruit, constantly changing though fermentation and open to hardness. If you don’t pay special attention to them, they will be ruined, so it is necessary to always keep them always in brine, in olive oil or inside their initial pack.

All our current production takes place in Stylis, in central Greece. In 2006, we began considering kosher certification for our customers, especially in the United States, in order to deliver quality olives to a broader market. We took this opportunity to contact the local OU Kosher representative who helped us to prepare and to become certified. We greatly value this certification and try to maintain the highest standards in all phases of production, from initial gathering to processing, packing and delivery of our products.

We were very impressed by the involvement of the OU rabbis in learning as much as possible about our products and company. Their friendly approach and professionalism have made it possible for us to understand the differences between OU Kosher as opposed to non-kosher methods of production.

We appreciate our olives highly and eat them every day. Next time you seek good Greek olives, don’t just look around, but instead look for the best quality available. We encourage you to ask for them under our own name and brand — the GEROLIVE brand — which will guarantee you quality and bring you back in time, to our roots and to our village.

Enjoy them!

OU Kosher Staff