I have recently become more interested in olives and growing them in Florida. Olives might be perfect for replanting citrus areas where trees succumb to greening disease. As has been covered at several public presentations recently, olives have a lot going for them. It seems they once were thought of as a good plant for Florida, but somehow that was lost as citrus became more popular in the state around the turn of the century.

We will be planting our first group of olive trees around our area to see if we can get them to thrive. If so, we will look at expanding the plantings. Most people here seem to focus on olive oil or olives themselves and thus are concerned about the ability of the trees to produce fruit. For this, chilling hours are important and it is not out of the question that crop yields could be low in some years.

Because of this, my interest is more in olive leaves, extracts and teas. There are examples of olive leaf infusions, but combining it with other flavors (e.g., chrysanthemum) seems to be largely an unexplored area. This is where we will concentrate our activities in olive growing in Florida.

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