WHEN IT COMES to Florida produce and agriculture, the names Navel, Hamlin, Pineapple, Ambersweet and Valencia are a lot more common than Arbequina, Ascolano, Taggiasca, or Sevillano.
Although Florida is noted for its citrus production, olives may hold promise for farmers looking for alternatives.
The conditions for growing olives in Florida are favorable. The state’s sandy, well-drained soils, plentiful sun and abundant rainfall mirror the Mediterranean, where olive trees have thrived for thousands of years. In addition, olives in Florida get ripe before those in California, which is a big advantage for growers in this area
Florida olive growers report they are seeing a more viable market over the past 10 years as more private and corporate farms are planting the seeds for olive production.
“I think we’d be even further along if it wasn’t for the COVID situation,” says Michael O’Hara Garcia, president of the Florida Olive Council who is based in Lacrosse and is involved in olive research promoting olives as an alternative crop in Florida.
“That’s kind of been holding us up. We’ll be doing better here in a while. We’re more of less focusing on discovering or developing a low-chill olive cultivar that we can bring down to South Florida that will perform better than the northern Mediterranean varieties that we currently have.”
There are about 800 acres under active cultivation being worked by about 80 farmers in Florida, Garcia explains. They range from 50 to 100 acres in North Florida down to five-acre test plots in the central parts of the state, in a total of about 20 counties.
Garcia said most of the cultivars in Florida now come from northern California nurseries, primarily growing olives native to the northern Mediterranean.
Around the state, there are currently two modern olive mills and Florida nurseries propagating olive trees for the fruit and for ornamental purposes.
Garcia adds that just over the Florida line, the Swiss agricultural management firm Agrigrada runs a 4,000-acre olive grove near Colquitt, Georgia, and a 300-acre olive grove and a modern olive mill serving growers near Valdosta, Georgia.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
A Healthy Berry Very Easily Turns Decadent
SIGNS of the SEASON
You Say Tomato, We Say Florida’s Finest
How Will You Celebrate National Ag Day?
WE’VE ALL SEEN #NationalDogDay or #NationalCoffeeDay sweep our social media feeds at some point every year. While there are many interesting avenues you can celebrate via National Today, there is one that remains all-important to maintain a stable economy and to live our healthiest lives. Can you guess it? National Ag Day on March 23.
Oh, the Places They've Gone!
Polk Graduates Talk About the Ag Programs That Sparked Their Careers
New Avenue for Kids
Organization Offers Education, Opportunity and Support for Community
UF Scientists Sequence Genome of the Supersweet Corn You've Nibbled for 20-Plus Years
SWEET CORN, a food favorite for many consumers, serves as a major crop for Florida. Earlier research by UF/IFAS scientists led to an even sweeter sweet corn dubbed “supersweet” because it has more sugar than other types of the staple crop.
Is Olive the New Orange?
Florida Growers Court New Alternative Crop
Daniel Jankins Academy Teacher Incorporates Hands-On Lessons in Agriculture, Sustainability and More
Florida-Grown Coffee? How UF Scientists Are Using AI To Serve Up the Possibilities
MOST OF THE WORLD’S COFFEE is grown in tropical regions. However, a changing climate could allow coffee to grow farther north — for example, in Florida. In April, all HCYCP participants pick up their tree kits to start their project.
Fun Projects Can Help Youth Get Interested in Agriculture
SPYKE AND MIKE
SPYKE & MIKE GO TO THE PET STORE
HERO NEVER GAVE UP ON MISSING GIRL, 13!
Clever cop goes motel to motel in search of perv who allegedly took her
Health and Happiness Have No Age Limit
Everybody wants to live a fulfilling life, age gracefully and enjoy the golden years. Maintaining your physical and mental health plays a crucial role in that endeavor. That means it’s important not only to eat right and keep your body moving but also to keep your mind stimulated as well. In this Senior Edition of Central Florida Health News, we touch on some of these very important issues.
National Infant Immunization Week
Many have received immunizations throughout their lifetime, but it’s often taken for granted how much of an impact these vaccines have on the lives of those in our communities, counties, state and even country. The Florida Department of Health in Polk County recognizes April 24-May1 as National Infant Immunization Week. This is an annual observance promoting the benefits of immunizations for children from birth to age 2.
DATA: FLORIDA'S TEXTING WHILE-DRIVING LAW RARELY ENFORCED
A Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy was heading east on Interstate 4 in his red Dodge Charger on a brilliantly sunny afternoon in Florida when he saw him: A young driver behind the wheel of a Jeep texting on his phone.
JW MARRIOTT MARCO ISLAND BEACH RESORT
JW MARRIOTT MARCO ISLAND BEACH RESORT
A Florida Outing
Join in the popular pastime at The Concession Golf Club.
THE ICONIC AMAZING ARTIST
Wow! What a blast going on here in central Florida! If you didn’t see the interview on Born to Ride TV on the Boss Hogg Radio Show last month, just visit the Born to Ride Archives and watch.
A Certain Southern Gothic
THE ALT-CURRENCY MARTYR
BEFORE THE FEDS FEARED BITCOIN, THEY FEARED E-GOLD.