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Kalamata Olive tree

paul wheaton

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 17409
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
Somebody just forwarded this craigslist ad.


Since these ads last just a short time, and I think the ad is loaded with excellent info, I'm gonna risk pissing off the advertiser and copy and paste the info here:

Description: The highly prized KALAMATA Olive Tree is rarely available and is virtually an exclusive offering. An absolute must have plant for anyone who wants to add a Mediterranean look to their landscape, garden, or business entry. Both cold hardy and draught tolerant, these easy to grow plants are an evergreen variety that can be placed directly in the soil outdoors, or placed in a container for growing on the deck, sun room, or in a well lighted kitchen or bathroom. If planted outside, they will not only grow well but produce fruit in the Puget Sound Climate...

The leaves and small white fragrant flowers of the olive tree are beautiful and the branches begin to drape as it matures. What's more, they are “self-pollinating,” meaning you can produce olives with only one tree (even more can be produced through cross-pollination with an additional tree)… This means you can grow your own olives just like my Nonno Giuseppe from Casal Velino in Italia and have homegrown olives that have NOT been soaked forever in commercial lye solutions or sprayed with harmful chemicals. The flowers will gradually develop into olives that mature throughout the summer and finally ripen in the Fall.

Why Kalamata Cost More Than Other Olive Trees: Propagation of the Kalamata is different than other olive trees as they must be hand-grafted. This process sacrifices the root system of another olive tree and grafts Kalamata just above the soil line so that the tree grows and produces as a Kalamata. This propagation method is more expensive for the grower and results in a 2 to 3 year waiting list for those few nurseries that can acquire them.

The KALAMATA OLIVE TREES are currently availanle in two sizes: (1) One Gallon - about 18-24 inches, with well established grafts, and capable of producing fruit within two years of planting; (2) Two Gallon - about 24-36 inches, with some vertical growth and lateral branching evident, and capable of producing olives within the coming year. The fruit from these trees can be cured and marinated to produce the classic gourmet “Deli olive” known throughout the world for its extraordinarily rich taste and texture.

Growth and Cultivation: Depending upon growing conditions and pruning practices, the Kalamata Olive Tree can eventually grow to a height of 18 to 20' tall and 10 to 12' wide in most US growing zones. However, they can easily be pruned to be smaller, more manageable in size, and fuller in appearance. In fact, they will actually produce more olive through such cultivation. They may also be grown in large pots or barrels. Whatever manner they are cultivated, Kalamata Olive Trees add a wonderful Mediterranean quality to any landscape. Since they are evergreen, they maintain this appearance on a year round basis as they are cold tolerant to about 16 degrees F and drought tolerant once established.

A Unique Gift: When placed in a ceramic or stone pot, Kalamata Olive trees make an extraordinary and unique gift...The olive tree is spiritually rich and symbolizes the ultimate "Gift of Peace" during these troubled times...

EARLY BIRD SPRING SALE PRICES: One Gallon: regularly $69, Now $64; Two Gallon: regulary $89, Now $79. Free planting/care instructions and salt-based curing recipes provided with each purchase. Come on by and you can also take a look at my cold hardy, Waggie Palm trees as well as my beautiful Tuscan Italian Frantoio and Spanish Mission Olive trees ranging in size and cost from $29 to $169...

Call (206) 769-5531 or e-mail back for an appointment to view some trees...

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paul wheaton

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 17409
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
two more pics

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paul wheaton

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 17409
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
I emailed the craigslist email address and directed the advertiser to this thread asking for permission.  The response:  "Thank you for the courtesy note.  No.  I have no problem with your reproducing the Kalamata Olive ad for more general dissemination and discussion on the website...Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information...Best regards, RDM" and the email came from "Roland D. Maiuro, Ph.D."

Dave Boehnlein

Joined: Jun 10, 2007
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
Does anyone have experience growing olives and getting them to produce in the Puget Sound area? I've heard that Arabequinas are the most promising for this area. What about Kalamatas? Anyone growing them and getting production in WA? Is so that's exciting. Perhaps ALJ has some info on this...

We just bought some Arabequinas to give it a try on some of the dry, rocky slopes here on Orcas. Hopefully, we'll all be eating tapenades and having proper accompaniments for our martinis soon.


Principal - Terra Phoenix Design
Arthur Lee Jacobson

Joined: Jun 18, 2007
Posts: 23
Every Olive tree I know in Seattle dates from after the severe 1990 winter. Each year more are seen in the city; nearly all are less than 10 feet tall so far. The 2004 book The Plant Locator Western Region lists 22 cultivars for sale in the West, yet has no Kalamata. The prices quoted for the Kalamata were double or triple what other cultivars are similar size cost. What people in the Puget Sound region must figure out by trial & error is which olive cultivars are --in the long run-- most adapted here to our periodic severe winters, plus our normal low heat-unit summers. It would be swell to plant 5 cultivars in a row next to a parking lot, against a large building, to compare their performance. Olives in this area ought to be planted in warm sunny sites with good drainage, in lower elevations, ideally close to buildings or paving that soak and reflect heat. Many trees produce fruit in Seattle, but they do not necessarily ripen them, and the fruit needs curing properly before it is edible. Personally, I think olives cheap enough to buy at stores, that growing my own is not as attractive an option as growing fruits that are either unavailable at markets, or do not preserve & ship as well as olives (such as black mulberries, Morus nigra). But the Olive Trees are indisputably attractive. Just note that if the fruit is not harvested and eaten, it will be a mere messy nuisance.


author of "Wild Plants of Greater Seattle",  "Trees of Seattle" and several other books.  More info at http://www.arthurleej.com/
MJ Solaro

Joined: Feb 21, 2008
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
We have two baby potted Arbequinas that are doing quite well. We got them about two years ago, and they were about 18" tall. Now they are about four feet tall, and healthy with minimal care. They live out on Western-exposure apartment balcony.

Both of them produced fruit for the first time this winter. As ALJ pointed out, the olives didn't taste great on their own, so we pressing them for oil. The trees being so small, it only produced a small amount, but it was good and had a really buttery/nutty flavor.

I would love to try Kalamatas as well. Our friends in West Seattle have a great Kalamata Olive tree. It doesn't fruit often, but when it does it's spectacular...

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Dave Boehnlein

Joined: Jun 10, 2007
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
We've decided to try out the Arabequinas up on the farm this year. We've got four of them and we're trying to figure out the best home for them.

I've attached an article by Bob Duncan on growing sub-tropicals outdoors in Coastal B.C. If you apply the same principles to whatever olive cultivars you test, you'll have the best chance of success.


[Download Subtropicals Outdoors in BC.pdf] Download

jacque greenleaf

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
Resurrecting this thread - any more info to add on growing olives in the PNW? Besides being interested in whether it really is possible to grow olives reliably up here, we are also interested in finding a permaculture producer of olive oil on the west coast- would like to buy it by the gallon. Any leads much appreciated!
Amedean Messan

Joined: Nov 11, 2010
Posts: 925
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
Good pick Jacque - any info on the hardiness of this cultivar olive?

cold tolerant to about 16 degrees F

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tel jetson

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3328
Location: woodland, washington
I've got four arbequinas that are three years old now. they've all fruited, though certainly not heavily. my understanding is that these trees are often coppiced in Mediterranean countries, so I would guess that even if the tops are killed by cold, the roots might sprout new shoots.

actually, at least one of mine died to the roots one winter and grew back the following year. and flowered.

so while I can't provide a source for gallons of olive oil, I'm led to believe that I may be supplying myself some day.

there are a couple of plantations getting established in the Willamette Valley, though I don't know how far along they are, and I would guess that "permaculture" isn't part of the owners' vocabulary.

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subject: Kalamata Olive tree