Olive trees, ‘Olea europaea,’ are the oldest fruit trees and certainly are among the most important fruit trees in history. Olive tree culture has actually been closely linked to the rise and fall of Mediterranean empires and other advanced civilizations throughout the ages.
Because olive trees used wealth and future food supplies to established civilizations, the agricultural countries became stable societies, resulting from a secure expectation from past experience of an uninterrupted food and olive oil supply.
This element was a necessary requirement for population development and increase. Trustworthy fruit production and olive oil production indicates that olive trees should exist in a peaceful environment and a stable society. That stability needs to extend for many years because most ancient seedling olive trees required 8 or more years before ever producing the first crop of fruit.
Efficient orchards of olive trees implied that a foundation of the excellent empires of Greece and Rome had actually emerged and become complex financial and political forces. It is interesting to note that the historical decline of these empires corresponded to the damage of their olive tree orchards that lowered the offered supplies of olives, olive oil, olive wood, and olive soap.
In connection with the damage of olive orchards, it is interesting to note that in the Israeli wars with Palestine, 50,000 olive trees were damaged by Israeli bulldozers. That act of farming destruction resulted in considerable anger and unrest along the Gaza strip and the West Bank because the financial income of numerous Palestinian farmers depended on their items from the rooted out olive trees.
Additionally, the olive tree was traditionally a ‘peace and goodwill’ sign, and when the olive trees were leveled near the city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and the “Cradle of Biblical History,” that elimination of olive trees appeared like a purposeful justification to end the ‘peace’ with the Palestinian settlers and farmers.
The Greeks acknowledged that in their large empire they need to avoid hostilities and war throughout the duration that the Olympic Games were being performed, and they declared an around the world armistice so that their complete attention could be directed toward their athletic events and video games.
Medical properties of olive oil were reported by numerous ancient Greek writers and thinkers, their value in creating dietary benefits and wealth for Greek people continues perfectly today– some Greek olive tree orchards consisting of a million or more trees. Aristotle composed extensively about the accepted methods of successfully growing olive trees.
Greek mythology records that Athena, the Goddess of knowledge and peace, struck her magic spear into the Earth, and it turned into an olive tree, therefore, the place where the olive tree appeared and grew was called Athens, Greece, in honor of the Goddess, Athena. Citizens still claim that all Greek olive trees stemmed from rooted cuttings that were grown from that initial olive tree. Herodotus composed in 500 BC, that the exporting and growing of olives and olive oil were so spiritual that just eunuchs and virgins were permitted to cultivate orchards of olive trees.
In the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible (Gen 8:11), Noah was provided an olive branch by a dove after the great flood as a sign of peace and love of God, which it remains today. In the book of Exodus, Moses describes that God expected olive oil to be used in various routines that were carried out by priests of Israel.
Olive oil was used as an anointing oil to be poured over the heads of Kings and priests that acknowledged their authority as a representative of God. Many other recommendations to olives are given up the Bible. Psalms 52:8 “But I resemble the green olive tree in your house of God, I rely on the unfaltering love of God forever and ever.” Lastly, Jesus was to spend his last day praying at the install of olives garden of Gethsemane, in Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion. Jesus was jailed there, attempted, founded guilty, crucified and later rose to paradise, after his resurrection from the tomb.
Impressionist artists were stunned by the antique age and appeal of olive trees and their productiveness that led to masterpiece paintings by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Renoir, and Matisse. The world’s fantastic Biblical press reporters, literary writers, and poets commemorated the olive tree, such individuals as Jesus, Milton, Shakespeare, and Lord Byron.
Thomas Jefferson composed “The olive tree is the richest gift of heaven.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has reported: “Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who took a trip abroad, brought plant product such as olive trees and rice back to the U.S. to establish the United States farming production.” Thomas Jefferson was the U.S. ambassador to France throughout the Revolutionary War, and he started to import olive trees and seeds into the southern U.S. The extreme humidity of South Carolina and Georgia did not allow successful olive tree orchards to develop effectively in those areas. Jefferson composed “The greatest service which can be rendered to any nation is to include a helpful plant to its culture.” He ranked his intro of the olive tree and dry rice into South Carolina as two of his leading lifetime achievements.
Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Ronaldson on January 13, 1813, “it is now twenty-five years given that I sent them (southern planters) 2 deliveries of about 500 plants of the olive tree of Aix, the finest olive trees in the world.”
The fragrant flowers of olive trees are creamy and small white, hidden within the thick leaves. Some cultivars will self pollinate, however others will not. The blossoms normally begin appearing in April and can continue for many months. A wild, seedling olive tree typically starts to flower and produce fruit at the age of 8 years. The fruit of the olive tree is a purplish-black when totally ripe, but a couple of cultivars are green when ripe and some olives turn a color of copper-brown.
The size of the olive fruit is variable, even on the exact same tree, and the shape varies from round to oval with pointed ends. Some olives can be consumed fresh after sun-drying and the taste is sweet, however, many olive cultivars are bitter and must be dealt with by different chemical services before developing into edible olives. If the olives are thinned on the limbs of the trees to 2 or 3 per branch, the supreme size of the olives will be much bigger. The fruit is gathered in mid-October and must be processed as soon as possible to avoid fermentation and a decline in quality.
The leaves of olive trees are gray-green and are replaced at 2-3 year intervals during the spring after new development appears. Pruning annual and badly is really essential to guarantee continued production. The trees have the unproductive limbs removed, “so that it will be more rewarding” John 15:2. An olive tree can grow to 50 feet with a limb spread of 30 feet, but most growers will keep the tree pruned to 20 feet to guarantee optimum production. New sprouts and trees will emerge from the olive tree stump roots, even if the trees are lowered. Some olive trees are thought to be over a thousand years of ages, and the majority of will live to the ripe aging of 500 years.
Olives normally are beaten off trees with poles, harvested mechanically or by shaking the fruit from the trees onto canvas. Olive oils are unique and unique, each brand name of olive oil having its own character, as determined by numerous elements, like those unique flavor differences found in great red wines. Prepared commercial olive oils can differ significantly in fragrance, fruit flavor; whether the taste is, flowery, nutty, delicate, or moderate, and the coloring of olive oil is quite variable.
Olive oil produces numerous health benefits when utilized in cooking or when poured over salads. Making use of olive oil can improve digestion and can benefit heart metabolic process through its low material of cholesterol. Experts claim that olive oil intake will cause an individual to grow shiny hair, prevent dandruff, avoid wrinkles, avoid dry skin and acne, strengthen nails, stop muscle hurting, lower blood pressure and counteract the results of alcohol.
Olive trees can survive dry spells and strong winds, and they grow well on well-drained pipes soils approximately a pH of 8.5 and the trees can tolerate seawater conditions. In Europe, olive trees are generally fertilized every other year with an organic fertilizer. The alternate bearing can be avoided by heavy pruning and generally the trees respond to this extremely rapidly and positively.
Olive trees need to be bought that have been vegetatively propagated or implanted since the seed grown trees will revert to a wild type that yields small olives with an insipid taste. Olive trees are more resistant to diseases and bugs than any other fruit tree and, therefore, are sprayed less than any other crop.
The Romans conquered Greece in 146 BC, and the victors took olive secrets to Rome, but given that then Greece has remained the greatest exporter of olive oil during the centuries. Olive seed is thought to have actually been brought to California in 1769 to grow into trees sturdy to 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Those olive trees were cultivated in the Franciscan Spanish abbeys.
Despite the fact that commercial production of olives in the United States is just 2% of the world market, terrific interest in growing olives throughout the South has been stimulated by the recent introduction of promising cold durable olive trees from European hybridizers. Many European immigrants to the United States grow their own olive trees in big pots, that can be moved in and out of the house throughout seasonal modifications.