Florida Growers Explore Olive Trees
Although the trees are native to climates with dry summers, growers are having success with some varieties in Florida's humid summer heat. River Run Olive Oil Company grows tens of thousands of trees in Gilchrist County. They planted them out just a few years ago, but have already helped the University of Florida collect important information about the viability of the olive oil industry in Florida.
"t's sustainable, they use very little water in a given year. They're non-GMO, and they live a long time", Mike Casey, managing partner of River Run explains the qualities that make olive trees a great crop to invest in for North Florida growers. The trees on the farm are old enough to produce olives, but the staff at River Run are keeping olives off the tree for now, so the trees can focus on producing a bigger crop of olives next year.
The farm grows their olives in high density rows as well as a "European Model" which provides more space between trees so people can pick olives and research can be conducted on a tree by tree basis.
River Run Olive Oil Company sells olive trees at their store in High Springs. Inside the store you explore olive oils around the world. Their motto is to "taste before you buy". The reason they got into the retail business is to one day sell oil from their own farm in Gilchrist County.