Days 128, 129, & 130: Olive Harvest Time!

Days 128, 129, & 130 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

For the past few days, I’ve been dodging olives that have dropped from trees and scattered across the sidewalks. There are lots of olive trees throughout my neighborhood. The olives have begun to change color from green to red to purple, and some are black (indicating the peak of ripeness). It’s olive harvest time!olive

That said, even when they’re ripe, most olives are unpalatable. They have to be cured to rid them of their bitter flavor.

I know that most people think of olives as being from the Mediterranean region of the world, but as Spanish priests built the California missions they planted olive trees as well. California has a similar climate to the Mediterranean area.

According to, Olive trees are hardy, easy to grow, and have a  life expectancy of 500 years. It’s hard to kill them, too – the trees easily sprout back when chopped to the ground.

Although olive cultivation dates back to 3000 B.C. in Syria, the earliest written record of olive oil production in California is 1803, with the first commercial olive oil mill established in 1871 in Ventura County, California. Olives are big business throughout California with over 10,000 acres cultivated for olive-oil production.  In fact, you can learn a lot about the California olive industry by visiting:

Papa’s favorite meal was a green salad tossed with olive oil and vinegar. He loved the flavor of olive oil and used it long before it became a food fad in the 1980s.

Ever wonder how olives go from orchard to oil? Take a virtual field trip to the Olivina olive ranch in Livermore, California to learn all about it!

Did you know that my home town is the location of the Annual Arts & Olive Festival?  It’s true!  Cañada College in Redwood City, California has had a unique relationship with olives since its inception. Many of the historic olive trees that dot the landscape were naturalized from early California plantings. According to the website, “… a group of trees were transplanted to the site following the Panama Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco in the early 1900’s.” The festival is a student scholarship fundraiser.

I appreciate olive trees in the fall, however, when the trees are in bloom I suffer. I’m allergic to olive trees.  🙁

If you want to know more about olives, the Sonoma County UC Cooperative Extension maintains an olive page at their website with all kinds of downloadable and printable pamphlets and reports on olives and olive oil production.



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