Could Olives be West Volusia’s Next Big Crop?
By Pat Andrews
Beacon Staff Writer
posted Oct 19, 2012 - 8:50:56am
Dana Venrick, retired Volusia County extension agent specializing in commercial horticulture, said he believes there is a future for olives in Volusia County and in most of Florida, though South Florida may not have enough “chill hours” that the fruit needs to mature.
Venrick consulted with Allen Green in Port Orange, planting 10 acres of olive trees at Green’s nursery. Those trees, planted about two-and-a-half years ago, are bearing olives, and a good crop is expected this fall, he said.
Venrick also runs the Quality Green Specialists retail nursery at 1639 N. Spring Garden Ave. in DeLand, where he sells olive trees along with other plants and organic products.
“The trees do quite well here. We’ve had great results,” Venrick said.
The trees like hot summers and cool winters. Once established, they tolerate freezes down to 12 degrees.
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Olives in Florida is an idea whose time has come. Olive groves are growing in Port Orange, Pierson, Oak Hill, DeLeon Springs, Dade City, High Springs, Newberry, Alachua, Spring Hill, Hernando, Lake Wales, and other locations in Florida as well. All are growing out strong and healthy. Some groves are already producing high quality olives.
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