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.
Sugar Belle Citrus
A Great New Variety...
Sugar Belle Citrus
Sugar Belle is a fantastic new citrus mandarin hybrid release from the University of Florida and is ready for commercial production.
Sugar Belle is a cross between "sweet" Clementine (widely grown in Spain) and the delicious bell-shaped Minneola, often called the "Honey Belle".
Fred Gmitter, a geneticist and breeder who developed the variety at University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred Florida, says that "Many old-timers in citrus have said this is the best-tasting citrus they've ever had." I grew up on a farm in the middle of an orange grove in Florida and know and have tested every variety imaginable. I tasted the new Sugar Belle at a program with about 200 other specialists. It is great! In fact, everybody I talked with at the program agreed it is hard to beat.
Sugar Belle is also a very vigorous tree when it is being grown in the grove and is less subject to diseases than the Honeybelle. What's not to like?
The Florida Foundation of Seed Producers, Inc. (a UF direct support organization) awarded an exclusive U.S. license to the New Varieties Development and Management Corporation and budwood and trees are being made available to growers.
Peter Chaires, Florida Foundation’s executive director, believes Sugar Belle will make a big splash in the $52 million specialty citrus market. Chaires describes its flavor almost like one would describe a fine wine. “It has a flavor that takes it to the top of the show wherever it goes. It’s got a very, very deep flavor,” he said. “I don’t want to say it’s rich, but it’s a very deep, complex flavor.”
Thanks for information from: Impact (R) The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Magazine, Volume 26, Number 1, Summer 2010 and University of Florida News, Filed under InsideUF (Campus), Top Stories on Tuesday, February 2, 2010.
Call today and see how we can put more money in your pocket with better quality testing and recommendations to grow the best citrus for your conditions.
Your citrus specialist,
Phone: (386) 837-3878
Fax: (386) 753-0945
1639 N. Spring Garden Ave. (Hwy. 15A)
DeLand, FL 32720