From Tree to Table

How We Bring Flavor to the World

Harvest & Cultivation

The olive harvest typically begins in autumn, but timing varies by olive growing region, as well as whether the olives are to be used for eating or producing oil. For example, olives that are being processed as Green olives will be picked when they have reached full size but are still green. Olives that are left on the tree longer will grow darker or more purple in color, such as the Kalamata. They can also be left on the tree longer until they become “ripe” olives.

Olives mature at different rates so they are not all ready to be picked at the same time. Often growers will return to pick from the same tree many times during the course of a harvest. Olives grown for the production of oil are picked as soon as they reach optimum ripeness. Although modern farming equipment has tried to replicate harvesting by hand, the traditional method still remains the best to date.

We put a ton of love into our olives

Curing Methods

Ripe Olive Process

Black Ripe and Green Ripe olives are cured with small amounts of lye to bring out their naturally mild flavor. The process begins with hand- picked, unripened green olives that are cured in a series of lye and oxygenated water baths for multiple days or until the solution penetrates to the pits and removes the bitterness. A final rinse follows and, in the case of Black Ripe olives, iron is added as a color stabilizer. Carbon dioxide is introduced to neutralize the lye, after which the olives are sized, pitted, canned, and topped with brine. Once sealed, they’re cooked with steam. Most similar to home-cured olives, the Green Ripe style is both cured and packed without the introduction of oxygen or iron.

Sicilian & Kalamata Olive Processes

Sicilian and Kalamata olives have similar curing methods. Sicilian olives are soaked in salt and lactic acid for one year. The same process, minus the lactic acid is used to cure Kalamata olives, as well as Amphissa, Niçoise, Picholine, Cerignola and Gaeta olives. Similarly, many “home cured” olives are prepared by soaking the olives in water that is changed on a daily basis, after which the olives are cured in salt brine for several months.

Spanish Olive Process

Spanish olives also start as hand-picked, unripened green olives. They are first submerged in a bath of lye for a few hours to remove their bitterness. The fruit is then rinsed and soaked in a strong salt brine for three months, causing fermentation. This gives them their characteristic tartness. The olives are then bottled in salt brine, capped and pasteurized.

Drying or Salt Curing

Dry Curing is the approach that starts with ripe, soft olives and results in salty, chewy varieties, such as the Dry Greek olive. Before curing, the olives are gently “smashed” to allow moisture to permeate their skins. Then the fruit is layered and covered with salt for four weeks. After curing, the olives are immersed in hot water to remove the salt, rinsed in cold water, and spread out to dry. The olives are then coated with olive oil (which is why they are sometimes called “oil cured”) before being packed and sterilized.

Olive Regions

Countries that Love Their Olives


In the U.S., olives are grown in California, and to a lesser degree in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Although California is responsible for producing 99% of all American olives, this makes up only .5 to 1% of olives grown worldwide.


Spain takes the lead as the world’s largest exporter of olives, with an estimated 215 million olive trees covering over 5,000,000 acres. This represents nearly 30% of the world's acreage in olive production. Olives thrive in ten regions of the country where a surprisingly wide variety of tastes and textures can be found.


The history of the olive tree in Greece dates back at least 3000 years. In fact Homer makes many references to the olive in the Odyssey. Over the centuries the Greeks have developed a number of varieties used to produce as much as 350,000 tons of olive oil each year.


A total of 29 countries import olives from Argentina. Most olive growing here is done in the provinces of San Juan, San Luis, Mendoza, and Cordoba. Arauco, a unique variety of large and fleshy olives, is the most popular in these areas.


In Turkey, table olives are consumed in large quantities. Of Turkey’s 1993 production of table olives, 110,000 tons were consumed domestically, yet only 10,000 tons were exported. It would be an understatement to say that the Turkish people are enthusiastic consumers of olives.


When many people think of olives and olive oil, they think of Italy. And with at least 300 varieties of olive grown in that country, it is easy to understand why.


Morocco is a serious contender when it comes to the exporting of olives to the world market. Introduced and re-introduced over the centuries, olive cultivation is at the heart of Moroccan cuisine and culture.


History tells how, thousands of years ago, the goddess Isis educated the Egyptians about the cultivation of olives and how to produce oil through the pressing of its fruit. Today the tradition continues throughout six main regions of Egypt.


In the 1700s, Franciscan monks brought the olive tree from Spain to Mexico. Gradually these trees spread north to California by way of mission gardens. For the Franciscan monks, it was held to be a beloved symbol of their pastoral past.

Olive History

8,000 Years of Olives

History of the Olive Tree & Olives

The olive tree has been in existence for nearly 8000 years and is an ancient symbol of abundance, glory and peace. It is one of the oldest known cultivated trees in the world—grown before written language was even developed. No wonder it is one of the plants most cited in literature. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus is said to have crawled under two olive branches that grew from a single stock. And Homer himself refers to olive oil as "liquid gold."

A native to Syria and Asia Minor, the first olives were picked from a shrub. So when the Assyrians discovered that a flavorful oil could be pressed from this fruit, they decided to cultivate it. Eventually it flourished and evolved into the hearty tree we know today. Although the olive tree grows very slowly and requires careful cultivation, its longevity rewards many generations of farmers. Amazingly, olive trees over a thousand years old still exist today in many parts of the world.

The Olive in California

The history of olive farming in California is believed to have started in the late 18th century. At that time, the Spanish Jesuits brought olive cuttings to the missions in Mexico. As the missionaries gradually spread north into California, so did the olive tree.

Between 1769 and 1823, olive farming flourished at the 21 missions located between San Diego and Sonoma. The variety cultivated from this harvest was named “Mission” and so we have the Mission variety. And it was around the year 1900 that Mrs. Freda Ehmann invented the ripe olive process while working on her back porch. A few years later Mrs. Ehmann built a factory in Oroville and so the California Olive Industry was born.