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Olive & Citrus trees just arrived in stock here at Peaceful Valley and they are waiting to grace your landscape with their lovely foliage.
I had the opportunity to talk to Steve McCulley of Apollo Olive Oil, which produces world class, highly sought after oil. Their delicious selections have won many awards. What followed was an informal interview about how to grow olive oils, and what you might use them for.
Q. What do people need to know about growing olive trees, (ie. climate, establishment, etc.)?
A. The first thing to know is that they do well in a Mediterranean climate… they like hot dry summers and a wet winter & fall which we have here (Nevada County).
They establish best on drip irrigation, and if you are able to experiment with mist-ers instead of drip irrigation they seem to like that. Our neighbors have used mist-ers and it seems to work well for them. You can dry farm, but olive trees do best on drip during the summer.
The reason for this is that olive tree roots do not tend to go very deep, they stay just below the surface. Because of this it is better to prep the soil in a wide radius around the tree. You’ll want to rip the soil pretty thoroughly to give the roots a chance to spread. While not very particular, olive trees like rocky soil in general.
Q. Is it different if you are growing olive trees for ornamental reasons (vs. oil or olive production)?
A. It’s different for ornamental growing. You can’t really do anything wrong… in fact they tend to do well. I have eighteen 100-year-old olive trees on our property. Their not for olive production, but they have very nice foliage. The black olives can be nice for ornamental growing, but even without they are nice to look at.
Ornamental olive trees are very low up-keep. They are very drought tolerant, there are very few diseases, and do well on drip.
Q. How easy would it be for our customers to make their own olive oil?
A. Well, each tree that is fruiting can produce 50-100 lbs. of olives at maturity, which takes about 4 years. Pressing olives is very difficult, so most people would take them to a miller, who will generally have a one ton minimum. So, for most people it’s not easy.
It is easy, however, to cure your own olives. There are all kinds of methods and recipes available. We teach workshops on curing olives and it is really a great way to enjoy really fresh, really interesting flavors of olives. Mission is a good pick for curing.