May 172011

Several years ago I met Georgia pathologist, Dr. Mark Hanly, through Shawn Davis, his co-founder of the Georgia Olive Growers Association. Dr. Hanly is a striking figure and I liked him right away. For many years he has carefully grown and tended his own grove of traditional olive trees in South Georgia – something I admire very much.

Here, as I write about Dr. Hanly, I must declare my preference for the traditional varieties of olive trees. I am not a grower, so I have no stake in making sure that what I plant today has a market tomorrow. Traditional trees have a distinctive beauty that gives the viewer a look into the long history of this majestic, yet gnarled, fruit tree.

When I was a teenager and a twenty-something living in southern France and North Africa I enjoyed looking at the beauty of the traditional varieties of olive trees, whether they were sweeping past my eyes from a train or car, or gracing a neighbor’s yard along with lavender, roses and scrub bushes. At these times I thought about the mythological history of the olive trees – issuing forth from the earth as Athena struck the ground, and I couldn’t help but think of the trees as a fruit tree version of a dinosaur, only very much alive.

Dr. Hanly has written a wonderful article about olive leaf tea for the Georgia Olive Growers Association. He explains it’s medicinal value and teaches us how to prepare it for ourselves. It is very interesting and informative. In fact, it is so chock full of good information I’ve read it several times. Please enjoy Olive Leaf Tea, by Mark Hanly MD.

May the sun shine through your branches.