Jan 062015
Darrien Ramsey of Terra Dolce Farms and Robert Mullinax of Zebina Whistle-Stop Farms discussing olive  tree pruning

Darrien Ramsey of Terra Dolce Farms and Robert Mullinax of Zebina Whistle-Stop Farms discussing olive tree pruning

A few weeks ago I was in Savannah hanging out with my husband, Mr. Olive Crazy, and visiting friends. Mr. Olive Crazy was dying to try out Cha Bella an innovative restaurant featuring local, fresh ingredients harvested and hunted by real people – no Sysco trucks rolling up here.

We had a great time chatting with the staff, who are also the owners. Of course we chatted about local olive oil too. They confessed that as much as they would love to offer Georgia olive oils on their menu the prices per bottle are too high for them to feature local evoo on Cha Bella dishes AND keep their menu prices down. I get it.

I almost forgot – the extra cool thing about Cha Bella is it’s location. It’s in the part of Savannah that housed the Trustees’ Garden where olives were grown with success in the 1700s. For more on the Trustees’ Garden and olives in Georgia see my earlier article about this subject “Thomas Jefferson Was Olive Crazy Too.”

Before leaving Savannah I met with my friend, Carol Chambers. Carol is a blueberry farmer and landscaping magician. We discussed using olives in some of her landscaping projects. I suggested trying out some of the sterile varieties since olives stain pavement and get tracked in the house staining rugs and floors too. After giving my advice we went for a short trip through her verdant backyard where I stepped in dog poo – tracking olives, tracking poo which is worse? Definitely the poo.

After all that fun I travelled due west to Lyons Georgia where I hoped to pop in on my friends at Terra Dolce Farms. As I turned into the Terra Dolce entrance I saw one of the owners, Darrien Ramsey, driving out. It was lunch time so I communed with the locals over fried chicken at Chatters Restaurant. Chatters is a southern-eatin’ delight and even though we have some great southern cooking places in my town of Wrens I just love Chatters.

Once lunch was over I headed back over to Terra Dolce and met up with Darrien and the second owner of this three-man operation, Tommie Williams. We had a great visit talking about harvesting, weather, tree growth, pruning, successful varieties, milling, production, and much more. It was finally time to go. I wrote a check and walked out the door with half a case of Terra Dolce’s latest extra virgin olive oil.

If you want to try the award-winning Terra Dolce Farms extra virgin olive oil you have two options: You can buy it directly from the farm at the Terra Dolce link provided above or you can stop in to Strippaggio located in Atlanta Georgia in the Emory Pointe Center across from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Clifton Drive.

Back here in Wrens Georgia at the Olive Crazy headquarters, Terra Dolce Farms evoo has dressed many a vegetable, meat and fish dish. It is such a family hit that soon I’ll need more.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Oct 102012

Last week Olive Crazy went back to California. This time for two olive milling and olive oil production courses taught by Pablo Canamasas at the University of California at Davis. Pablo is the oil production technical manager at Boundary Bend Limited, which is Australia’s largest olive oil producer. Boundary Bend is owned by Cobram Estate and has many grove locations in the country.

I enjoyed the introductory course, but was very pleased with the detail in the advanced milling course. Pablo is a wonderful teacher.

The Olive Center at the University made available to the students the Olive to Bottle mobile mill as a process and equipment viewing aid. I took a short video for you and edited out the sound since the mill was in partial action and was loud. This is my virgin upload to YouTube. There is room for improvement but I’m not unhappy with the result.

The main thing missing in the video is the oil coming out at the end. The olive paste was still very dry and the oil had not yet been released. When you see the open metal grid with the auger churning, that is the dry olive paste. The millers are adding enzymes (brown liquid in the plastic cup) to break down the pectins and water (the hose) as processing aids. The stuff bubbling in the tube at the end into the yellow bins is some of the separated water. It was stinky.

The coffin-like piece of equipment is the decanter. It is a centrifuge which separates the oil from the water and the paste. It is a fascinating device made even more fascinating because you can’t actually see what’s going on inside. The miller must use his or her experience to intuit all that’s happening in there.

The olives that are being milled are early harvest Arbequinas. The smell coming off the bin was rich and inviting. I can still remember the scent.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Sep 122012

Here is a short but interesting video filmed during the operation of the olive oil mill in the village of Panagia on Thassos Island in Greece. There are no olives in the mill. It is probably a test run for the harvest this fall.

It’s loud, so adjust your volume before you play it. Your coworkers will wonder what you’re doing.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Apr 072012

I want to pass on another great bit of information about an olive business event in Georgia that is happening THIS WEEK.

Members of the fledgling US east coast olive growing and olive oil producing industries have the chance to participate in a “business-changing” event with global implications. If you are already involved or even thinking about becoming involved in growing olives for olive oil production or are interested in just the olive oil production side of the business you must attend the presentation and discussion of the proposed federal olive oil marketing order.

This important presentation and discussion will be held on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at the University of Georgia’s, National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory (NESPAL) Building, 2356 Rainwater Road, Tifton, GA 31793.

If you plan to attend, please contact  Beth Oleson, Executive Director of the Georgia Olive Growers Association, by email at georgiaolivegrowers@asginfo.net or by phone at (706) 845-9085.

There is supposed to be a Google Map to the location just beneath these words but I noticed that sometimes I need to refresh my webpage to see the map. In case the map doesn’t show up or refresh doesn’t work, I added a link to the map in the address just above.

View Larger Map

May the sun shine through your branches.


Nov 132011

Every day I read lots of material about the olive, some from books and others from the internet. Each week I share with you the articles, recipes, research documents, and other information I find on the internet. Most of it is very interesting and some of it inspires me to write an article or two of my own. None of these links are in any way my opinion or are endorsed by me. I am sharing.

Olive Links of the Week

Journalist Tom Mueller will hold the world release of his new book  Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil on November 29, 2011 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the UC Davis Conference Center. Click here for more information and here to make reservations.

Spain’s Olive Harvest Marked by Lower Yields, Too Many Workers
The Olive Oil Times
Spain is poised to harvest olives, but did adverse weather conditions effect oil flavor and quality?

In Dookie, cream of the crop sows seeds of innovation
The Age
Olives aren’t new to Australia. Dookie agricultural college in northern Victoria has a 110 year old olive grove just inside it’s front gate.

Cambridge, Massachusetts award-winning restaurant EVOO is hiring dinner line cooks.
Craig’s List Boston
I wish I saw this sooner. Quick – send in your resume.

Of bio and brothels
The American Magazine
Find out about “bio” and what it means. Also, here’s another recipe for Spaghetti alla puttanesca.

Syria expects Record Olive Oil Production
Day Press News
Even though olives and olive oil are staples of the Syrian diet harvesting is woefully antiquated.

Syria Expects Record Olive Oil Production Amid Political Unrest
The Olive Oil Times
More on Syria.

Olea Farm olive oil is a growing biz
San Luis Obispo The Tribune
Clotilde Julien, owner of Olea Farm in Templeton California and her husband, Yves Julien have started a new business, Mill on Wheels. This mobile mill can process about two tons of olives an hour.

Dress up summer salads
Adelaide Now
Here are some salad dressings for those of you on the planetary southside who are now enjoying fresh vegies and for those of us on the northside who need to add some flavor to the hydroponically-grown greens now on display at the grocery.

A short guide to oil dressings
Teatro Naturale International
A new olive oil guide from authors Luigi Caricato and chef, Giuseppe Capano.

NOW EAT THIS: Rocco DiSpirito says you can have your cordon bleu and eat it, too
The Washington Post Lifestyle section
Chicken cordon bleu rollups – the butter is replaced with olive oil.

Olive oil flows at Pacific Sun Farms on annual community day
Corning Observer
Pacific Sun Farms doesn’t commercially grow olives but they will press them for folks on community day.

New olive oil regulations
Weekly Times Now
Australia’s new olive oil standard inspires others around the world.

Get the facts on fats
The Kansas City Star
Eat your monounsaturated fats.

Will the real Extra-Virgin Olive Oil please stand up!
Melting Pot Tours
An olive oil tour in California.

Olive oil prices stall
Weekly Times Now
Food prices going up, but not olive oil.

The Art of Olive Oil Tasting
Just Luxe
Hold an olive oil tasting.

The International Olive Council will host a seminar on olive cultivation systems and olive oil quality at it’s Madrid headquarters from December 12th to 16th, 2011.

For olive farmers, Eid holiday an opportunity to harvest
The Jordan Times
Kids are off school for the eight day holiday so more harvesting can get done.

May the sun shine through your branches.