The Story of A Girl and an Olive ~ Brooks and Beth Clark
So we go to California quite often and this particular trip we were out in Napa Valley at Inglenook. As we were coming in from the vineyards we saw that there were olive trees with olives on them in January. I love to cook and we are empty-nesters and we were looking for something interesting to do in our middle age! We wondered if anyone on our coast was growing olives. We found the Georgia Olive Farms had started a high density grove in Lakeland, Georgia in 2009 and have been successful in producing fresh extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).
We attended olive conferences that the Georgia Olive Growers put on and also visited small growers in Napa and Sonoma area. While visiting a small grower in Napa I discovered that I had gone to high school in Fort Lauderdale with her. Crazy right! From there we decided we would try our hand at it. The Georgia Olive Farms planted for us in April 2014. We have a high density 7 acre grove in Lillian, Alabama. We have planted 70% Arbequina, 15% Arbosana and 15% Koroneiki.
Olives are a fruit and like a soil PH between 5 and 8.5. They also like well drained soil and temperatures ideally between 35° and 65 to produce. Olive trees bear fruit on one year old wood found on the outer periphery of the tree and adequate sunlight. We are high density which means our 3,000 trees are planted closer together to make ultimate use of the land. They are planted on a trellis and we use a drip system for irrigation.
We had olives our second year, last year we had a little less than a ton and this year we had approximately 1 1/2 tons (2018) of olives. We grow, harvest, and press olives in Lillian, Al. Our company name is A Girl and an Olive.