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At My Olive Tree we understand that you may have some questions about the olive trees we plant, and even olive trees and olive oil in general. No matter where you are putting your support, it is important to be informed about it; to both understand what your help does, and to feel confident in whatever way you are contributing.
This is why we are answering some of the most frequently asked questions about olive trees we receive so that you can learn more about My Olive Tree, olive trees, and olive oil!
Question: What do you mean when you say an olive tree can last for hundreds or thousands of years?
In early biblical times, people often lived for many hundreds of years, with Methuselah—the grandfather of Noah—being the oldest, living to 969 years! Yet, compared to many olive trees, even the lifespan of Methuselah is not as high, with some olive trees living between 1,000 and 2,000 years!
While olive trees—especially immature olive trees—are not without specific needs in terms of water, temperature, and soil, they are actually quite hardy. Even, in some cases, being able to regenerate themselves if the upper portion of the olive tree is severely damaged but the roots are still healthy. In these instances, the apparently “dead” olive tree begins to regrow by creating new life from the roots.
So, while some of the oldest olive trees perhaps never underwent this regeneration thanks to ideal conditions and their hardy nature, others may have. And in this way, allowing an olive tree to regenerate for hundreds or thousands of years, even if they experience less than ideal conditions.
Question: Can I eat olives directly off the tree?
You can eat olives directly off an olive tree, but the experience is not likely to be a pleasant one as the unprocessed olive can be surprisingly bitter.
Generally, before an olive reaches a store or restaurant, it has gone through a fermentation process. This is not the same kind of fermentation that fruit like grapes go through to become wine, because the goal is not to produce a stable alcohol. Instead, this fermentation process is meant to remove the bitter chemical compounds found in the olive. Further, this process also releases lactic acid, which is a natural method for prolonging the shelf-life of olives.
And this is not simply limited to olives meant to be eaten whole. Even the oil made from olives requires a certain amount of processing to remove some of the naturally bitter quality of the olives—for some varieties or years of harvest, the amount of processing needed to achieve this can vary.
Question: Where do olive trees originate from?
Interestingly, the olive tree’s botanical name, Olea Europaea, means oil of Europe. However, this is not really an indicator of where olive trees are likely from or where they are most commonly found today.
Typically, we most often associate olive trees with the Mediterranean. This is because the majority of olive oil products found in stores come from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea—Italy, Greece, Algeria, Turkey, Israel, etc.—and because many of the images and travel shows that display olive trees are backdropped by a beautiful Mediterranean background. Yet, despite all this, there is no agreed-upon location for where olive trees were originally cultivated—though Persia is one likely candidate.
Today, however, olive trees can be found around the world—from Bermuda, to China, to Norfolk Island, to California, and even Peru. And while the Mediterranean still achieves perhaps the largest—maybe even the best—olive groves and harvests, with careful cultivation olive trees can thrive in many, many environments around the world!
Question: Why should I invest in planting in Israel?
The people of Israel want to work. They want to care not only for themselves and their families but also improve the land.
Certainly, donations matter. Not everyone is able to work—such as the Holocaust survivors (now in their 80’s, 90’s and beyond), the children, and the sick. But many who are in need are able and want to work…
This is where planting in Israel can make a huge impact!
No matter if it is a family who has been struggling to get by or a community who can no longer make a living off of their old crop; boycotts against Israel, for instance, have caused many who farmed flowers to no longer be able to sell enough crop. Even soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces who otherwise might not be able to afford certain necessities benefit by planting and caring for the young saplings. Planting in Israel can leave a lasting impact, opening people up to the love of God, allowing them and the land of Israel to thrive!
At My Olive Tree, we want to build people up, to help them not just in the short-term, but for years or even generations to come. This is why we plant olive trees and grapevines in Israel. To bless and strengthen those who care for the plants. This is also why we offer “Made in Israel” products so that more jobs are created, and so those who were once in need and lacked purpose can find both again.
A Few Fun Facts About Olive Trees:
- Olive trees will grow well in almost any well-drained soil with a pH up to 8.5 and are tolerant of mild saline conditions. Yet, while olive trees can survive in a variety of soils, limestone offers the best conditions for fruit production.
- Proper pruning is important for olive trees. Pruning both regulates production and shapes the tree for easier harvest. Olive trees can withstand radical pruning, so it is relatively easy to keep them at a desired height.
- While the mention of “olive trees” is seen less than twenty times in most versions of the Bible, we find that “olives” and olive “oil” is mentioned hundreds of times from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, olives, and particularly the oil they produce, were an integral part of many biblical stories in both daily and ritual uses.
- The most common use for olive crops is the creation of olive oil. However, when an olive is at its greatest weight, it still only has a twenty to thirty percent oil content compared to its overall weight.
If you would like to learn more about olive trees you can visit: “Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Olive Trees!”
If you are interested in sponsoring the planting of an olive tree you can visit: “Sponsor!”
If you would like to buy “Made in Israel” products, you can visit: “Made in Israel!”
If you want to be a part of planting in Israel but cannot sponsor an entire plant, you can visit: “Contribute to the Cause!”
If you would like to discover more about My Olive Tree you can visit: “Why My Olive Tree?”
No matter what you choose, we thank you for taking the time to learn more. May you be blessed and prosper!