Every now and then at My Olive Tree we get some questions about how our trees are grown or about the process of growing and harvesting olives in general. Here are a few of the ones that are most commonly asked:
Q: What do you mean when you say an olive tree can last for hundreds or thousands of years?
A: In the animal kingdom, that kind of lifespan is unheard of, with the exception of turtles and some whales, most animal life rarely reaches past 100 years. Plants are different, and among plants, the olive tree is extraordinary. While olive trees are very sensitive to cold and over watering, “dead” olive trees can regenerate themselves. This is because the root system of the olive tree is very hardy, and even after a frost that has destroyed a mature olive tree, the roots can create new shoots, and new life. In that way, olive trees can grow, thrive, and regenerate for hundreds and thousands of years.
Q: Can I eat olives directly off the tree?
A: You can, but you probably don’t want to. That’s because before they are processed, olives are very bitter. The olives that you buy at the store have undergone a fermentation process to remove the bitter chemical compounds found in olive fruit. This process also releases lactic acid, naturally prolonging the shelf-life of olives. Even some olive oils are refined after being pressed to remove the natural bitter quality of the olive.
Q: Where do olive trees originate from?
A: The olive tree is most commonly associated with the Mediterranean. Most of our olive oil products come from countries bordering the
Mediterranean Sea: Greece, Italy, Algeria, Turkey, Israel, etc. No one knows for sure which one of these regions cultivated the first olive trees, though Persia seems the most likely candidate. Today, the trees can be found throughout the world, and in such diverse places as Peru, Norfolk Island, China, Bermuda and California. This belies the olive tree’s botanical name, Olea Europaea, which means oil of Europe!
Our mission is to create a partnership between the Evangelical community and the nation of Israel; this partnership will produce employment, income, and revenue for humanitarian aid projects in Israel. We envision the planting of one-million olive trees over the next seven years. This relationship was prophesied in the Bible centuries ago, that the foreigners and strangers (those not of Jewish descent) would help rebuild the walls of Israel and cause the desert to bloom (Isa 35:1). Among other things, this reforestation is an environmental blessing for the entire region. May all who participate in this project be blessed body, soul and spirit; it is time for you to take root in Israel!