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Oregon Olives

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2012 @ Oregon Olives

Nov 30, 2012


The Cat and I, fighting off hordes of busy body bots


Well, it has not much to do with olive tree farming, but much to do with bringing you the information!  Our internet service provider is changing our service plans (for our benefit, ha!  If you believe that, I have some olive trees to sell you, for sure (<grin>)).  It turns out about half our allocated bandwidth is being chewed up by spiders and bots and other scary phantasmagorical creatures.  Having a black cat "Defender of the Realm" familiar around can't do any harm, can it?  Even if she sleeps a lot?

Dec 05, 2012


A nice day to harvest Kalamata


A sunny day here, and temperatures have been holding above freezing, indeed no frost in the 10 day forecast.  But it is too nice a day to waste, so why not pick some olives?  The Kalamata are the ripest, so it was a pleasant hour out picking them.  Interestingly, while some trees averaged fairly ripe:

Dec 31, 2012


A good year in the olive groves!


A warmish winter, a fairly long growing season and reasonably warm summer added up to a good year for the olive groves.  Even the trees planted before the damaging storms of December '08 and '09 have started to really dig in and take off.


Kathy's Grove, Oct 22, 2011:

About an equal number had not yet really started turning color.  Just goes to show results will vary, even our results vary!

50 of the larger sized Kalamatas weighed in at 170 grams, or on average 3.4 grams each.  These Kalamata olives have started on a cure, Kalamata style of course!  Follow along at:


                                       Making Kalamata-style Table Olives

Dec 08, 2012


Arbequina Final Size


Arbequinas are nice, hardy productive trees.  The only downside?  They are so small this is the second year in a row we haven't bothered to harvest them.  100 picked as a randomized sample off of our 5 trees gave an average weight of 0.92 grams each.


Dec 08, 2012: Arbequina olives at the Reken Estate, finally ready to pick for olive oil:

Kathy's Grove, Nov 07, 2012:

Kathy's Grove is almost fully planted as of this fall; the Reken Estate is scheduled to have it's last big mass planting next spring.


And then, Mother Nature willing, we will have some really nice groves in about 10 years!  As they say in the Old World: "Plant grapes for your children, plant olives for your grandchildren"!

Dec 15, 2012


Still picking olives!


In fact, if we were to try to make an award winning olive oil out of our Tuscan olives, I bet right about now would be the time to do it!


But we made table olives this year; 6 more quarts squirreled away for the winter:

Dec 29, 2012


End of the olive harvest season?


It has been a really mild winter here so far, with a low of about 31 F or so (by thermometer and observing a little bit of slushy frost on the car windshields at 7 AM).  Radiative frosts are being predicted for the next several days, with lows down to 25 F or so - which should freeze the olive crop and put a definitive end to the 2012 olive harvest season.


Kathy's grove, Leccino olives 12/29/12, still just barely at a Maturity Index of 3:

Nov 07, 2012


Table Olive Harvest - Amfissa


The Amfissa's are looking very nice this year too!  Here is a loaded tree:

The Amfissa are very uniform in a good size this year.  I picked out 40 of the larger olives and weighed them in at 4.9 grams each, on the average.


Follow along as we process the olives:


Making Green Ripe-style Table Olives

This tree, planted at the Reken Estate in 2006, yielded about 6 1/2 pounds of olives (with U.S. quarters on both sides):

And after picking:

Nov 11, 2012


Table Olive Harvest - Nocellara del Belice


It was a dark and stormy day.  In other words, pretty normal for this time of year in Oregon farm country.  So, we all, Carmen, Sara and David, got out and got the Nocellara del Belice harvest in!  Although we have a fair number of NdB planted, all of them were planted in the last two seasons.  So, not a tremendous crop, but more than three gallons worth:

Two gallons of these are going to a green Sicilian cure, after all these are Sicilian olive trees!  See this date at the following web page for the different seasonings we use:


Making Sicilian-style Table Olives


The recipe guide we are following this year for the remainder does not have a Castelvetrano-style cure; but Spanish-style is somewhat similar.  So, follow along in the coming year:


Making Spanish-style Green Table Olives

Shown here after sorting.  Weighing 50 of the bigger ones gave an average weight of pretty close to 6 grams each.  When picking these, I had thought the Amfissa were clearly bigger, but Nocellara del Belice are fat and fluffy!

Nov 16, 2012


Table Olive Harvest - Picholene, Picual, Santa Caterina


Our one and only "Elder" Santa Caterina tree (all of six years in the ground!) yielded almost four pounds of olives this season, of a really decent size.  Picking 20 of the larger ones and weighing them yielded an average weight of 6 grams each (see left, below).


Similarly, 40 Picholenes weighed in at an average of 3.3 grams each (see below, right).

However, our Picual trees illustrate the "off year" yields of most of our olive trees, and with lighter weight than might be expected.  Forty of these olives weighed in at an average of 2.75 grams each.  For me at least, I would have to say that 2 grams is about the lower limit for use as table olives, and was about the lower bound of the Gaussian distribution of the Picuals this year:

 The Santa Cats and Picuals are going to be used for:


                                       Making Mediterranean-style Table Olives


The Picholenes will be used for


                                       Making Dark Ripe-style Table Olives


Since the next two olive curing methods I am going to try this year are for riper olives, we are planning on clenching fists and biting our knuckles, and harvest some more olives as late as possible.  Stay tuned, it's not over until the knuckles are raw!

Nov 22, 2012


Where Olive Trees Learn to Fly...


Yes, they do!  We live in a magically enchanted place, where even olive trees fly!  This Frantoio pulled itself up out of the ground, flew up up in the air, landing after about 125 feet in the middle of some nursery stock. A three point landing - didn't even muss the leaves on the surrounding trees.


Strange but true!  I swear it so.  Orville and Wilbur may have done it first, but Oregon olive trees are coming on strong!!


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