Olives come from olive trees, Olea europea, which have been cultivated in Syria, Crete and in other parts of the Mediterranean for the last 5,000 years, according to WHFoods. Evidence shows olive trees existed in Spain between 6,000 to 8,000 years ago and were also native to Africa and Asia.
Olives are currently one of the most abundant fruit crops and are grown all throughout the world. Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria are the largest producers of olives in the world and crush the majority of their olives to manufacture olive oil. Olives are harvested when they are both ripe and unripe and appear black or green in color, which depends on their level of maturity, as well as the region they are grown in.