Along for the ride:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Olive Tree in Flower

I had never seen, or thought about, the flowers of an olive tree until I received this picture from my friend Chantal. She and her aptly named husband, Olivier, planted small olive saplings 20 years ago on land they purchased in Provence.

Olives After Spring Rain
Over the years the trees have been nurtured and have grown to produce an
ever-increasing abundance of olives.

Olives Ripening Through the Summer

Once an olive tree starts to bear fruit, it
doubles in quantity every year. What was once driven to the Co-Operative in bushels in the back of a car is now pressed on site in their own Olive Press.

Almost There
There are oil tastings and competitions, much as there are for wine.

Treasure in the Making

Chantal and Olivier have won many gold medals for the quality of the oil that they lovingly produce.

Olives Ready for Harvest
We have been lucky enough to be able to import our supply of olive oil from them; in stainless steel drums, which we empty into a more manageable sized container, with a spigot, that sits on the kitchen counter and provides the green-gold nectar with which we cook and make our salad dressing every day.
The olive harvest has begun, I'm told, on the gently sloping hillsides, with a distant view of the Mediterranean. Every time I pour some olive oil I think about where it came from.


  1. Wow, that sounds absolutely wonderful... la Grenouille and I love good olive oil. I'm wondering if it is a guarded secret, or if you'd possibly be willing & able to pass along the source to me ? (my e-mail is in my profile, but will give it here : owenphil at So how do your steel drums of oil come across the ocean ? I guess they don't produce enough to fill a super-tanker ? Great post, you've got me thinking anti-pasta and pasta and pizza now... getting hungry fast...

  2. Owen, no secret, just trying to keep my marketing instincts in check in blogland. "Moulin du Haut Jasson" at La Londe des Maures, Var.
    We have the barrels shipped to a departure point for one of our ocean going containers of limestone or whatever. I had to get a U.S. food import license but that was just form filling. Well worth it.
    There is a rentable "gite" onsite if you want to stay there too.

  3. Olives on trees, something I have never seen before. Thanks.

    I'm glad Owen asked that question. I was wondering how you went about getting it here.

    I know the stuff available to be bought here is crappy...but not knowing any better makes it okay. That didn't come out right.

  4. Lovely photos, ma chère English Rider,

    I have only ever seen rock hard black olives on a tree so your images are a revelation. I know the oil is good as I've tasted it for myself!

    à bientôt,

  5. Really informative post, and such warm and evocative photographs. Thank you.

  6. Mmmm.....I LOVE olives! That sounds amazing, to have them right outside your door. Thanks for the info on purchasing.

  7. @eloh, sometimes things are there but we don't notice them. I spent 5 years in the South of France and never noticed the flowering of the olive trees. Same with the poppies that are scattered through all the landscapes that artists like to paint. Last time I went as a tourist and was shocked that there were really poppies everywhere. There is good olive oil to be found that is produced in the U.S. Taste some "boutique" olive oils and see what you like.
    Fr'Amie, fancy that!
    Martin, Chantal's photos of her own olives.
    Michelle, They've built their own home in amongst the trees. We love to go there.

  8. Wonderful post. I learned new things-- And I love all things olive :-)

  9. Dear ER, many thanks for the info, am writing this down to follow up on... really appreciate that, and it sounds excellent... can't wait...

    Oh, and I am SO slow sometimes, just now saw the post below this one, and am now off to read it and no doubt will leave a little thought or two there also... but THANKS ! Too kind !

  10. love the oil for cooking etc.. but.. olives to eat!.. bleurrghhh! like eating little balls of cough medicine. We brought an olive tree and chanced planting it in a sheltered, sunny corner.. it's been there for three years now and survived the uber cold winter last year, so fingers crossed. I love the trees!

  11. Joanna and Watercats, I too love olive oil and the trees, yet lack the taste for olives themselves. They border on acceptable when steeped in a gin martini but I'd rather drink around them.
    Maddie, I hope you get there soon.
    Owen, thanks for the mention over at The Bog Blog. I was impressed by your combining the search for the perfect "resting place" and the search for all things blue. Planets do align sometimes, don't they?

  12. Beautiful, I've never seen olive tree flowers. Thanks!