Spanish olives

Gotcha. Very nice setting. Nice drought tolerant plantings as well. :smile:

I wish olives would grow here…I love them. I didn’t know about the allergy issue though…that would be a problem for me. Trees called “Spanish Olives” grow around here in groves in places where the soil has been disturbed. They must be the same since they look identical to the last photo in Mr.Clint’s initial post. They don’t bear anything however, at least as far as I know.

Thanks, Clint. I need to replace my Ceanothus, which, after 12 years, have died. So, will probably replace them with the same, and maybe a couple of Manzanita as well. That slope is just about all drought tolerant California natives and Mediterranean plants. Makes it easy to maintain, so I can spend time on my higher maintenance plantings :slight_smile: Appleseed, unless you are definitely allergic to olives, you have nothing to worry about. I have horrible, terrible, awful seasonal allergies. But, I’m mainly allergic to some of our native California coastal scrub plants that tend to bloom in the fall. And Bermuda grass. Not allergic at all to olives, or I’d be really miserable about now, as olives are blooming.

Hoosier…I’m curious about olives. I always strive to buy all my produce as a product of the USA (except for bananas), but when I buy olives I can never find California grown. Why is that…do you know? Does the entire Cali production get used up on the west coast? I can sometimes find California black olives in the can (my favorite), but even those usually come from Spain or elsewhere. I never see green olives in the jar from Cali, and I always look. I’d be willing to pay a bit more too. Never understood that.

Well, that’s a very interesting question, Appleseed. About 99% of the olives grown in the USA are grown in California. But, worldwide, California olives account for about 1/2% of all olives grown. Spain is the #1 grower of commercial olives, accounting for about 30% of olives grown worldwide. I would venture to say because we Americans were historically demanding other fruits and crops that could be grown in S. and Central California (such as citrus & avocados). Commercial olive growing is centuries old. Commercial olive growing in California started in the 1800’s, about the same time citrus was gaining ground, here. And, there was this huge, huge demand for citrus. Then, on the heels of citrus, avocados. Just think is was a matter of timing and what the marketplace was demanding when those crops started to get a foothold here in California. Here is the interesting part: Both citrus and avocados need a lot of water. So, many commercial orchardists that are still in business here in S. California are removing their citrus and avocado trees, and planting - you guessed it - olive trees. Olive trees use about 1/4 the water of citrus and even less than that compared to avocados. So, you may be seeing more and more “California grown” olives in the next decade or so.

Wow…you are a wealth of information. You answered that question more thoroughly and quickly than could have the California Olive Growers spokesman. Thank you…I’ll keep my eye out.

Well, born and raised California girl, living in the middle of it all. And talking to some of our commercial orchardists here in N. San Diego county, who are the epicenter of commercial avocado growing that has been here for an awfully long time, and those folks making the very difficult decision to cut down those gorgeous avocados, and replace them with olive trees. It’s either that, or go out of business for many of them. Makes for a fair amount of local news, here. Commercial citrus growers are, for the most part, long gone. And, you’re welcome :wink:

‘Arbequina’ fruitlets:

The citrus growers are all gone? Where did they go? Where in Cali are all the oranges and lemons grown? BTW…I spent 4 hours watching vids and reading all about your situation out there with the water. Damn that is a complicated issue on so many fronts. I wish it wouldn’t have to come to desal plants…that’s awful.
I also watched the lady from 60 minutes drink a glass of filtered and treated sewer water. It’s a great idea and cool that that can actually be done but I nearly puked. I done service calls in sewage treatment plants and it is even nastier than one might think. They called it toilet to tap in the video…the guy at the treatment facility said they prefer the name “showers to flowers”…lol.

Appleseed, nearly all the commercial citrus growers have left S. California because the cost of water has driven them out of business. Some have moved out to Indio, or further north to C. California, all in search of less expensive water.

Patty S.

Commercial citrus is long gone in my locale. I think CSUN and Pierce JC may still have some small orchards for historical purposes. Although there were a lot of orchards here in my youth, it was still considered a marginal commercial area compared to the rest of So Cal. Ultimately, the money to be made from selling residential lots far outweighed the value of just about any crop.

Robinson Road Olive Ranch up in Topanga Canyon inspired me to try growing the small Spanish olives. They primarily grow ‘Arbequina’, with ‘Arbosana’ planted as a pollinator.

Market Watch: Olive oil, from the hills of Topanga

In my opinion, I think the Manzanillo olive (table olive) and the Picual olive (for oil) are the best choices for southern CA and many other regions of the world.

Some olives are starting to trickle in now:

although tiny, arbequina are delicious
I’m sure you’ll enjoy them

Yes, they are tiny compared to most table olives that I’ve come across. The trees are also fairly compact and fit well into my landscape. A true edible ornamental.

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I have never grown olive plants, very curious about things that are related to olive plants. I have two questions: 1) Is the Arbequina olives’ bloom fragrant? 2) why you soak Olives in water/liquid?

Olives are trees, most get huge and are very long lived, but these Spanish olives stay small and don’t live as long. The Spanish olives can be maintained just like other BYOC fruit trees for the most part. ‘Arbequina’ does set fruit better with a pollenizer such as ‘Arbosana’.

I didn’t notice much if any fragrance, certainly nothing like citrus, perhaps other varieties or larger plantings might perform differently.

Raw olives are very bitter --so some level of processing is required. I’m following the directions for kalamata-style olives from this UC Davis document:

Thanks, MrClint. I had fresh green olives in China which are little tart/bitter but have sweet after taste. The inside of olive stone( don’t know how to called it, pit? core? ) tasted delicious.

brine-cured style is very usual for arbequina variety, perhaps due to its small size … cutting each olive individually could be tedious if you have many

The ‘Arbequina’ olives are now in their final spicy herb brine. They taste great, and can sit in the refrigerator for up to a year. One jar has fresh thyme and the other has rosemary as the herbal element. Otherwise both jars have whole garlic cloves, fresh cayenne pepper pods, and lemon slices in the kosher salt and white wine vinegar solution: