The olive tree is Mediterranean region’s native since the beginning of the mankind. It is a beautiful tree with a large participation in history and religion. There are hundreds of varieties that have been cultivated since 3500 BC.
President Thomas Jefferson imported the olive tree into the United States to feed the colonists. The olive oil is difficult to choose because of its 600 different kinds. Each olive oil absorbs the flavors of the different fragrances of the flowers or flavors of herbs growing under the olive trees, also other fruit and nut trees growing nearby. The olive tree is not only a reliable fruit tree that keeps on giving, it is also a decorative tree as well.
Here are the most important ones.
1. Kalamata is the most well known olive tree in the world. It is a Greek variety with a large egg-shaped fruit.
The Kalamata olives are cured in salty water for about a year and turned out to be a delicious, spicy and salty appetizer.
The Kalamata olive tree produces a great table olive and top quality extra virgin olive oil. The extra virgin olive oil is the only oil that can raise the taste of a prepared dish to new heights.
2. Arbequina. Is a self fertile tree and there are not pollination problems. The Arbequina olive tree produces small green table olives which turn into purple as they rippen and black in the final stage of growth.
Planting an olive tree in a pot, gives the house a tropical flair. In cold climates a planted in a pot olive tree can be moved indoors or outdoors depending on the weather.
The variety of Arbequina olives give high quality olive oil with a fruity taste and the tree is very tolerant to cold weather conditions (22 degrees Fahrenheit).
3. Barouni. It is a Tunisian olive tree that can grow in your back yard, depends on weather conditions. The Barouni olive tree gives us a large table olive with a very low content in oil. This olive is not suitable for extraction. October and November are the months that the Barouni olives rippen and are black with an oval shape.
4. Sevillano. This is a large Spanish olive tree that can reach 30 feet tall. Its olive fruit is low in oil content and has the shape of a plum with almost the size of a plum. The olives are growing one by one on a branch and are harvested in October.
5. Mission. It is the olive tree that can reach 40 feet tall and is very tolerant to cold weather (5 degrees Fahrenheit). When cold weather damages the tree, this tree will regrow. Even if the tree is cut off at ground level, this tree will grow from the trunk. It is tremendously vigorous and gives big productions.
The Mission olive tree has been brought into the United States from Mexico around 1760 and it is growing in Northern California. It is used for green or black table olives also for olive oil. The quality of the olive oil is very competitive to the European olive oils.
6. Lucca. The Lucca olive tree is resistant to cold, even bellow 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a very vigorous tree with high yields of olives. The olives contain a high percentage of oil which has a buttery and a bit bitter taste.
7. Manzanillo. This olive tree is resistant to cold temperatures, even in 12 degrees Fahrenheit doesn’t get damaged. It is also very resistant to high summer temperatures with a build in drought resistance, doesn’t need watering except by rain.
The Manzanillo olive is a very popular table olive and it is used for olive oil production also. The ripening starts in September and continous into November. The harvesting starts from the green ripe stage and continous to the black ripe stage.
In the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where Jesus spent his last hours and where He prayed before His crusafiction, very near the Jewish semetery where many Jewish Saints are buried, there are olive trees dated back 2000 years ago.