olive trees

Originally there were scores of beautiful but neglected olive trees at Rancho del Cielo. They had been planted by the previous owners and left to the elements in the salt air, and hot summers with no irrigation. Being olive trees, they survived. Olives exemplify the idea of "drought tolerant," and happily endure the Southern California climate.

For several years we watched the fruit ripen and drop to the ground forgotten. Then, an Italian friend, who has his own groves in Liguria, on the Italian Riviera identified our trees. He told us that they had been chosen for their suitability to the rocky soil, seaside climate, and their characteristics for olive oil production. He identified many of the trees for us and inspired us to consider them as more than decorative landscape elements.
So, not long ago, we decided to harvest our olives. The trees are from Italy, France, and Spain. They include:

Leccino from Tuscany, a rustic variety known for its earthy taste..
Frantioio, another Tuscan variety, which is very fruity, notably aromatic, and of high quality.
Pendolino, which plays a crucial role as an excellent pollinator, both for table and oil cultivars.
Maurino, The oil is delicate and not overly fruity and a native of foggy hillsides.
Carboncella, a rustic Tuscan variety known for its deep violet fruit.
Hojiblanca, an exceptional oil from Spain which was highly prized by the invading Moors.
Picholine, the most popular olive in France.  This rustic variety is not just a beautiful source for olive oil, but is famous as the ubiquitous cocktail olive.
Coratina, from the Puglia region of Italy on the Adriatic.  In the 4th Century BC, these olives were the source of great wealth amongst the Romans.
Farga, a sweet oil from Spain, which the Romans introduced as they expanded their empire.
Arbequina, the most important variety in Catalonia -- known as the “sweet bride.”
Cornicabra, which in spanish means “goats horn”. This fruit from Andalusia, highly prized for its oil and strong flavor.
Canino, the fruit is emerald green with tones of gold, worshipped by the ancient Etruscans and given as gifts in specially made amphoras.
Cailitier, the main variety of the alpes maritime region near Nice.  When cured they are known as the “nicoise”.
Rosciola, from the coastal plain known as the cradle of Rome and the birthplace of Latin.  This ancient fruit is known for its authenticity and robust aroma.

  olive branch
olive branches
olive tree

In North Africa it is said that if a family has an olive tree, they will never go hungry. To this day, olives are prized, revered, and recognized as one of the healthiest of foods. The history of the venerable olive mirrors the rise of Western civilization. Olea europaea, were first cultivated around 6000 B.C.. Some olive trees are known to be over 2000 years old. The olive tree and its oil were the economic basis for great civilizations. Olive oil was used for food, lighting, skin emollients, and leather preservation. Great ships sailed around the known world with cargos of this liquid gold. Priests, kings and emperors were anointed with it. Gladiators bathed in it. And to this day, the olive branch is the universal symbol of peace.

Hopefully, our once-forgotten trees at Rancho del Cielo will also survive for many millennia and give us all the generous gift of a very special olive oil...


Rancho del Cielo Malibu, located in Malibu, California is widely known for its romantic locations, beautiful gardens,
acres of olive groves, stunning ocean views, wild mountain backdrop, and its serene atmosphere.

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