Nov 012014


Brisbane QLD AU

Brisbane QLD AU

It wasn’t long ago that the Australian province of Queensland suffered record floods. Now some parts have the opposite water problem and are suffering from drought. Three months ago the areas outside of the capital city, Brisbane, were declared drought-stricken and 15 olive growers filed for Drought Relief Assistance.

While olive growers in the northern hemisphere are harvesting, growers in the southern hemisphere are looking for the fragrant, snowy-white blooms that foretell a healthy olive crop. In the drought-affected areas of Queensland the blossoms are burned and brown.

The olive growers west of Brisbane haven’t had many good crops in the last several years, but they still know they have businesses to run. With the help of other Australian olive growers the Queensland growers have several options: buy olives from other groves and press them in their own mills, harvest directly from another grower’s land and again press them in their own mills, or buy bulk olive oil from another grower and bottle it for sale under their own label. But, regardless of these options lots of money in wages, equipment, pest management, etc. are lost daily.

While Queensland growers wait for November rains (good) or el Nino (bad) at least they have some financial relief in sight. I am hoping they get just the right amount of rain.

Here’s a run down on what the Australian Drought and Rural Assistance Program provides:

  • Income support
  • Farm finance
  • Farm management deposits
  • Tax measures
  • Financial counseling
  • Drought loans
  • Water infrastructure investment
  • Community support
  • Pest management
  • Interest rate subsidies

May the sun shine through your branches.

Jun 252014
Drought-stricken California

Drought-stricken California

On the east coast of the United States we take California’s massive contribution to our tables for granted. Lately is seems like there is an article every day about the increase in food prices due to the drought conditions in California and other western food production states. Usually the articles focus on celery and beef even though there are many other, and more popular, food items effected by the climatic conditions out west.

Here is a video and article about how the drought is effecting olives in Central California. Meet Art Kishiyama. He is a grower in Paso Robles, owning Olio Nuevo, and the President of the Central Coast Olive Growers. Even though I live and grow olives in Georgia, I am a member of the CCOG. They are a great group of folks who are interested in growing olives and putting out excellent olive oil.

From KSBY television in San Luis Obispo, California “Exceptional drought making no exceptions for drought-resistant olives.”

May the sun shine through your branches.

Jun 162014

I’m fascinated by bonsai, but like a typical American I’ve got a tiny attention span. Creating bonsai, the proper way, requires a bunch of tools and techniques. I find myself getting bored with all the styling and frequent tool changing. Yawn!

These three olive tree bonsai videos are part of a sequence and are easy to follow. TheBonsaiStudent‘s YouTube channel is where I found these videos. There are also many more on his YT channel about creating great-looking tiny trees from all kinds of plants. If you’re into bonsai they’re worth a look.

Video 1 – Initial Shaping

Video 2 – Final Pruning

Video 3 – Root Pruning and Potting

May the sun shine through your small, shapely branches.

May 222014

In the spring of 2014 Senator Tommie Williams, Darrien Ramsey, and Clint Williams owners of Terra Dolce Farms won an international olive oil competition and now it’s “game on.” Additional olive trees were planted this spring at Terra Dolce and I’m pretty sure they are a variety that hasn’t been planted commercially yet in Georgia. Even though it’s a few years away, I can’t wait to taste the newest evoo.

Terra Dolce‘s fall 2013 harvest, its first and most recent, sold out fast. One of the locations fortunate to sell Terra Dolce is Strippaggio, an olive oil, vinegar and specialty foods store located at Emory Point in Atlanta, Georgia. The owner, Celia Tully, could barely keep the buttery and grassy oil on her shelves.

Celia is very picky about the olive oils she carries at Strippaggio. She carries only US-grown olive oils and only the best. This is what sets Strippaggio apart from most of the other olive oil stores you will find around the US. Few are permitted by their supplier to offer US-grown olive oils and if you want some of the beautiful US-grown oils you find in California and Texas you need to order online or stop in locally. By the way, Strippaggio can sell online too.

Below is a link to a new article from Georgia Public Broadcasting. Enjoy.

Move Over Peaches: Olives Could Be Georgia’s New Popular Crop.

May 032013
Bob Krueger and Sam Shaw at Georgia Olive Farms

Bob Krueger and Sam Shaw at Georgia Olive Farms

I met Bob Krueger several years ago at the first big meeting of the Georgia Olive Growers Association and have seen and spoken with him on subsequent occasions. He is a nice man.

Over the years, Bob has worked alongside other Georgia olive growers to make the best of a new and exciting food opportunity for our state. He even went toe to toe with the USDA about the subject and won. I’ve spoken to Bob about his ‘meeting’ with the USDA and he is very modest about his success. “I just gave them the information they needed and they made the right decision,” he told me last year.

Back in 2010 Bob started planting olives and by 2011 he had two sites. Now Bob has 22 acres of olive trees planted and in a few years will produce extra virgin olive oil.

I ran across a recent news article about Bob and his olive growing efforts from Channel 41 WMGT in Macon and Warner Robins Georgia. The article is entitled “Olives Soon To Be The New ‘Peach’ For Georgia?” Here is the news video.

May the sun shine through your branches.