Olive trees as a prep

Discuss lifestyle changes to better survive disasters. This category is for topics pertaining to being self reliant such as DIY, farming, alternative energy, autonomous solutions to water collection and waste removal, etc.

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

Post Reply
ryan80
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 1:39 pm

Olive trees as a prep

Post by ryan80 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:23 pm

I have been doing some research on using trees, which typically require less maintenance, space and work than many other crops in my future plans. Some other examples would be oak trees for fuel, building materials and the nearly 1,000 pounds of acorns that an oak tree can produce in a year to feed pigs. As for olive trees, I am just starting to research this and am curious if anyone else has considered using olive trees as a long term source of sustenance. Olives and olive oil have been a staple food in many parts of the world for millennia. Each gallon of olive oil contains over 30,000 calories and per acre an average yield would be 160 gallons, or 4.8 million calories. Per my math, I believe that the calories per acre for olives is a little better than wheat, but not quite as good as potatoes (all depdning on your climate of course.) Nowhere near as many calories per acre as apples, but fat is necessary as part of a balanced diet and this would be a terrific source of fat for self sufficient living. Anyone on here making their own olive oil?

Advantages:
1. Olive trees produce olives which can be made into olive oil. Although yields tend to vary considerable year to year, typical yields per acre should range in the 1 ton to 10 per acre, yielding from 10 to 55 gallons of oil per ton. An average would be 4 tons per acre and 40 gallons per ton, or 160 gallons per acre. So on as little as 1/4 acre, that is an average yield of 40 gallons of oil per year! Per my math, I believe that is plenty to supply a family for a year with a huge percentage of their caloric intake and perhaps supply almost all of the fat in their diet, even if they had very limited access to animal fats.
2. Olive trees can survive and produce in very poor soil and were historically grown where no other crops can grow--rocky, on slopes, dry, etc.
3. Olives are very often produced with no irrigation at all. Nitrogen fixing crops (legumes) are often grown in between trees, and standard farm muck is a sufficient fertilizer when spread once per year. No other cultivation is required (tilling, weeding, planting, etc.) on an ongoing basis.
4. Olive trees can live for a thousand years or more, meaning no need to worry about seeds and such.
5. Trees should be pruned to keep up production and to allow picking by hand. Typically 20' by 20' and they don't grow larger than 50' in any case.
6. The oil should store for at least a year, more likely 2-3 without any refrigeration.
7. Seems that nothing is set in stone as far as health goes these days, but as fats go, olive oil is touted as being comparatively healthy and is linked to lower heart disease, cholesterol, and a variety of other maladies. Personally, I use olive oil more than any other cooking oil.
8. Julius Caesar's troops nearly conquered the known world, fed by little more than grain (often stolen from the areas they conquered), olive oil and whatever game they happen to come by.

Concerns:
1. In the US, you are going to be limited by the climate. This is a Mediterranean crop that has some specific temperature needs. Namely, it needs to get below 45F at some point in the year, but never below 15F. Wet tropical climates are unlikely to work. Basically zones 8 and 9 are best, with 7 also possible. There are several sites dedicated to Georgia olive farms popping up in the last few years, which is where I am. There are several varieties, some that go grow a bit farther north.
2. Soil can be dry, rocky, chalky, sandy and/or relatively poor, but if it doesn't drain well you have problems. Wet feet = dead olive trees.
3. There are some processing requirements, namely crushing the olives, pressing and then separating the oil from the "juice." I haven't been able to find any especially specific guides to doing this on a homestead scale, but if they did this 4,000 years ago, surely it can be done by a homesteader or even in a SHTF scenario. Anyone have anything on this?
4. High producing years are often followed by low producing years. The storability helps with this, however.

Some Resources:
http://cesonoma.ucanr.edu/files/27195.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.willisorchards.com/category/ ... ng8ARAhttp://" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.hobbyfarms.com/crops-and-gar ... e-oil.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

feedthedog
* * * *
Posts: 959
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:55 pm

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by feedthedog » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:07 pm

I hadn't thought of this before, but I love olives. This seems like a fantastic idea, though it seems like it might take a long time to actually get a bunch of producing plants.

Only $10 per plant and a minimum order of five plants. It's cheap enough that it's worth giving a shot just for fun.
http://georgiaolivefarms.com/gof/store/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Thanks for the idea!

User avatar
fred.greek
* *
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:29 pm

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by fred.greek » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:40 pm

Another reason for olive tree, the leaves (olive leaf extract) as herbal medicine:

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-olive-leaf.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.floridaconcerts.org/How-to-M ... xtract.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

gundogs
* * * *
Posts: 824
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:44 am

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by gundogs » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:37 am

Planting any edible fruit or nut tree is a great idea

User avatar
cv66er
ZS Donor
ZS Donor
Posts: 384
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:10 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Being originally from Butler County in Pennsylvania...
Location: CRE

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by cv66er » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:49 pm

ryan80 wrote:Concerns:
3. There are some processing requirements, namely crushing the olives, pressing and then separating the oil from the "juice." I haven't been able to find any especially specific guides to doing this on a homestead scale, but if they did this 4,000 years ago, surely it can be done by a homesteader or even in a SHTF scenario. Anyone have anything on this?
Make a pulp. Spread it on mats. Crush the mats. Collect the liquid squeezed out. Oil rises to the top.

Pictures of presses here:
http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/Olive% ... ulture.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
We'reWolf
* * *
Posts: 636
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:43 pm
Location: California,San Diego

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by We'reWolf » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:11 pm

lol its more of a long term prep... we got an olive tree and it took about 10+ years to actually start getting fruit
The ringing in your ears is the sound of your own destruction.

Anomic1
* *
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:34 pm

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by Anomic1 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:03 pm

40 gallon per year is plenty for a family...

For a family of 4 that is 3-4 cups of olive oil per week... For each person!! I love olive oil. Cook with it, pour it on my subs (as close to a salad as i get i out lots of lettuce on ;) but i cant imagine getting up to 4 cups a week!

User avatar
Toxoph
*
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:05 pm
Location: Southwest Florida

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by Toxoph » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:26 pm

Thats a great idea! I have 5 acres in N Fl that I wont be retiring to for at least 7 years. I have been making a list of trees to plant now and this seems perfect. N Fl seems to fit the criteria of growable places and mine is very high and dry.

Anyone know how they are sold? Can you buy more mature trees from nurseries to plant?
I prep, therefore I am

Murphman
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 922
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by Murphman » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:06 pm

I have two Arbequina olive trees in my back yard in Florida that I planted 2 years ago. I paid extra for older trees, so I should expect olives either this year or next. The goal was to get one gallon of oil a year at maturity, which is possible, but probably not for a decade. The grower raised the trees 90 miles north of me, so I know they can produce in my sub-tropical environment.

What not to do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2I2iDBB7wU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I figure use a homemade cold press with a 20 ton bottle jack and some cheese cloth will be what I will do, but until I get olives, I am not thinking too hard on it. :)
"If you are prepped for pandemic flu, you are more than prepped for Ebola. And pandemic flu is hella more likely, that's the one that scares me, personally." - Duodecima...and she's a freaking doctor. What are you?

User avatar
ineffableone
* * * * *
Posts: 3603
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:15 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Undead, Dead Alive/Braindead, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, 28 days, 28 Weeks Later, I Am Legend, Resident Evil franchise, Serenity (I would call Revers pretty damn zombie), Versus, Black Sheep
Location: Pac Northwest, East of the Cascades

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by ineffableone » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:14 pm

I lived and worked (as landscape manager) at an intentional community that had a lot of olive trees, aprox 90. The founder was an Italian architect so loved olive trees and actually rescued them from being destroyed during a road widening. Part of my job was harvesting and processing the olives along with the rest of the edible and medicinal landscaping.

Olive harvesting is a labor intensive process, as is the processing into an edible product. It also takes quite a bit of time for them to sit in brine or salt and takes a lot of salt in this process. You also can get a high amount of mold and contaminants ruining your crop if not careful. Making olive oil is not an easy process taking a lot of time and effort and uses a lot of olives to make a small amount of oil. Previous to me being there they had experimented with the process at the community but stopped due to it just not being worth it. However since I left the community they have again started olive oil production. Aprox 90 olive trees at the community would produce 600-800 lbs of olives annually, and this is from mature trees.

There are automated systems to make processing olives faster and easier, however typically I don't think most folks are going to spend the money on those gadgets if they aren't doing it as a full time business.

Not saying folks shouldn't grow olives, actually I think people should if their climate allows. They are great. Just be realistic about it. Also don't forget they need regular maintenance. You can't just plant them and let them grow, you need to trim and prune them regularly, cutting of the sucker branches that grow straight up, and all sorts of work to make sure they produce well.
"Once a man has seen society's black underbelly, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend, like you do, that it doesn't exist"

"None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with ME!"


ZS Wiki ZS Acronyms

Gun Self Defense Counter

User avatar
ineffableone
* * * * *
Posts: 3603
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:15 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Undead, Dead Alive/Braindead, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, 28 days, 28 Weeks Later, I Am Legend, Resident Evil franchise, Serenity (I would call Revers pretty damn zombie), Versus, Black Sheep
Location: Pac Northwest, East of the Cascades

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by ineffableone » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:26 pm

BTW this is what 840 pounds of olives looks like after a harvest. 21 boxes, 40 lbs each

Image
"Once a man has seen society's black underbelly, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend, like you do, that it doesn't exist"

"None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with ME!"


ZS Wiki ZS Acronyms

Gun Self Defense Counter

User avatar
FelixArchon
* * * * *
Posts: 1075
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:02 pm
Location: Las Vegas

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by FelixArchon » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:08 am

I've looked into this, pretty extensively. I'll go into whatever level of detail you like, but the short version is that it's only really viable if you're able to set up on a fairly large scale.

-As above, the trees need to mature before they produce, so your olive grove will need several years of start-up time before you get any real production.

-Tending the trees is not a simple as you'd think, especially if you climate suffers from ANY sort of regular freeze. An established olive tree will live for (literally) a thousand years. Seriously. Cut the trunk at ground level, and the stump will start growing shoots. But getting it established and keeping it productive takes attention, care, and skill.

-There exist olive-specific pest issues, in a BIG way.

-Both harvest and processing are labor-intensive. While mechanical options are available for oil extraction, the equipment is not cheap. Unless you're operating on levels to create some form of economy of scale, you're likely to spend more calories working than you gain from the oil.

-Olives that are oil-rich generally don't taste very good, and vice-versa. You can have tasty olives, or you can get a lot of oil, but not both.

-Expect a good crop only on alternate years.

If you climate is right, if you have years to invest, and if you love the idea, then sure. Check out some of the smaller commercial operations in CA and TX for ideas, to get some idea of how the pros do it. (The people who do it are zealots, and most will be glad to talk to you if you want to move from research into application.) But if all you're looking for is a way to add a food oil to your homestead, you'd probably do better with sunflowers or moringa.

BigDaddyTX
* * * * *
Posts: 1998
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:50 pm
Location: Greater Clear Lake Area, Texas

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by BigDaddyTX » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:41 pm

Can you expand on the pests more?

I live on the gulf coast, so olive trees are in my future one way or another, but I'm getting my citrus started first. That said, I had no idea they'd take 10 years to produce, so I'm certainly going to get some planted sooner than later. The bonus of living down here is in a SHTF sort of thing, getting salt will be easy.

I'm disappointed to learn that they're so labor intensive though. Can you rig something up that shakes the trees to get the olives off etc? I feel like I could set up a pretty simple hydraulic press that works on electricity, or uses a tractor somehow.

ETA: found a forum page with some decent info and methods on it.
http://www.permies.com/t/17128/food-pre ... -Olive-Oil" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Image
mzmadmike wrote: I may even buy another semiautomatic assault weapon rambo killing machine for my small penis, with lots of large capacity non-reusable clips full of armor piercing incendiary mercury tracer poisoned explosive hollowpoint glaser black talons

Caenus
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 3635
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 7:56 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: the ones where people turn into zombies
Location: Arizonastan

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by Caenus » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:31 pm

A carob tree is a decent low maintenance tree as well. Lots of Olive trees in yards here in AZ....lots of stained concrete on sidewalks! :roll: no one really does anything with them.

My carob tree takes no special maintenance except trimming and picking up the pods. The pods are super sweet, kinda reminds me of a chocolate peanut brittle. You can also grind up the pods (sans seeds) and use it as a flour or cocoa substitute. I think it is a great survival/prep tree. In fact it was a staple by the Greeks for a long time, and even helped them get through WWII.
"If guns kill people, then I can blame mispelled words on my pencil." - Larry the Cable Guy

Check out my Zombie Novels!; Phoenix Rising; ...and the sequel: Through the Ashes

User avatar
Mad Mike
* * *
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:33 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: the walking dead & world war Z

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by Mad Mike » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:37 pm

ryan80 wrote:I have been doing some research on using trees, which typically require less maintenance, space and work than many other crops in my future plans. Some other examples would be oak trees for fuel, building materials and the nearly 1,000 pounds of acorns that an oak tree can produce in a year to feed pigs. As for olive trees, I am just starting to research this and am curious if anyone else has considered using olive trees as a long term source of sustenance. Olives and olive oil have been a staple food in many parts of the world for millennia. Each gallon of olive oil contains over 30,000 calories and per acre an average yield would be 160 gallons, or 4.8 million calories. Per my math, I believe that the calories per acre for olives is a little better than wheat, but not quite as good as potatoes (all depdning on your climate of course.) Nowhere near as many calories per acre as apples, but fat is necessary as part of a balanced diet and this would be a terrific source of fat for self sufficient living. Anyone on here making their own olive oil?

Advantages:
1. Olive trees produce olives which can be made into olive oil. Although yields tend to vary considerable year to year, typical yields per acre should range in the 1 ton to 10 per acre, yielding from 10 to 55 gallons of oil per ton. An average would be 4 tons per acre and 40 gallons per ton, or 160 gallons per acre. So on as little as 1/4 acre, that is an average yield of 40 gallons of oil per year! Per my math, I believe that is plenty to supply a family for a year with a huge percentage of their caloric intake and perhaps supply almost all of the fat in their diet, even if they had very limited access to animal fats.
2. Olive trees can survive and produce in very poor soil and were historically grown where no other crops can grow--rocky, on slopes, dry, etc.
3. Olives are very often produced with no irrigation at all. Nitrogen fixing crops (legumes) are often grown in between trees, and standard farm muck is a sufficient fertilizer when spread once per year. No other cultivation is required (tilling, weeding, planting, etc.) on an ongoing basis.
4. Olive trees can live for a thousand years or more, meaning no need to worry about seeds and such.
5. Trees should be pruned to keep up production and to allow picking by hand. Typically 20' by 20' and they don't grow larger than 50' in any case.
6. The oil should store for at least a year, more likely 2-3 without any refrigeration.
7. Seems that nothing is set in stone as far as health goes these days, but as fats go, olive oil is touted as being comparatively healthy and is linked to lower heart disease, cholesterol, and a variety of other maladies. Personally, I use olive oil more than any other cooking oil.
8. Julius Caesar's troops nearly conquered the known world, fed by little more than grain (often stolen from the areas they conquered), olive oil and whatever game they happen to come by.

Concerns:
1. In the US, you are going to be limited by the climate. This is a Mediterranean crop that has some specific temperature needs. Namely, it needs to get below 45F at some point in the year, but never below 15F. Wet tropical climates are unlikely to work. Basically zones 8 and 9 are best, with 7 also possible. There are several sites dedicated to Georgia olive farms popping up in the last few years, which is where I am. There are several varieties, some that go grow a bit farther north.
2. Soil can be dry, rocky, chalky, sandy and/or relatively poor, but if it doesn't drain well you have problems. Wet feet = dead olive trees.
3. There are some processing requirements, namely crushing the olives, pressing and then separating the oil from the "juice." I haven't been able to find any especially specific guides to doing this on a homestead scale, but if they did this 4,000 years ago, surely it can be done by a homesteader or even in a SHTF scenario. Anyone have anything on this?
4. High producing years are often followed by low producing years. The storability helps with this, however.

Some Resources:
http://cesonoma.ucanr.edu/files/27195.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.willisorchards.com/category/ ... ng8ARAhttp://" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.hobbyfarms.com/crops-and-gar ... e-oil.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Not really, since I don't like olives! But I can see that they would be handy if you do like them. I planted a variety of fruit trees, with similar thoughts in mind. :)

User avatar
MarkW
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 103
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:25 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Shaun of the Dead, Army of Darkness (I know, more deadites than zombies but I like it anyway)
Location: West Central Illinois

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by MarkW » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:08 pm

I am a big believer in agriculture/farming in general and I think if the local climate supports it go ahead and plant anything that thrives in that environment including trees.

One thing I have learned is that all types of plants have up and down years, and it is important to diversify enough so that a bad crop of any particular plant, tree or vegetable, does not provide a major obstacle.

Take pears for example, one year I had hardly any and the next season I lost branches as there were so many it was tearing the branches off the trees!

NWDub
* *
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:59 pm

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by NWDub » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:09 pm

Felix has touched on a number of good points.

it's somewhat like winemaking but completely different.

But you can use their presses to juice them

Zimmy
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 965
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 11:11 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days later, Return of the Living Dead
Location: Trinity City, Texas

Re: Olive trees as a prep

Post by Zimmy » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:28 pm

Thorny olive is a wicked tree that would make a good hedgerow. I'm not sure if training it like that would effect fruit production. I'm going to dig some from a friend's farm and try a row of it.

The only thing I've seen that's nastier to pass through is Honey Locust. Even little 3' plants will jab right through denim or duck.
Boldly going nowhere

Post Reply

Return to “Self-Sufficient Living”