In January I had the opportunity to visit the Spanish Institute of Agriculture, in Cordoba, Spain. This is a government organisation of scientists who investigate olives. They are experts in growing olives and specialise in DNA coding olives to ensure varieties are pure. As you could imagine an amazing amount of knowledge held be this organisation and the people who work in it. Our Hosts Angela and Jarvier led us on a walk through the 'Olive Library'. A grove with 800 different varieties. I was like a kid in a toy shop as we browsed the different shapes and colours of olives. We've started investigating how to bring in some of these varieties for us to grow & produce different tasting olives. It is a long and expensive process just to get them into the country. Bio security is a serious threat to horticulture. The Olive Fly is one we know about, we do not have it in NZ, and do not want it! The Olive Fly is a bug that can devastate crops. It is a small larvae that eats into the fruit as it ripens. You can see olive fly larvae eating through the olive in this picture.
I will keep you posted on developments!