The Olea project is a partnership between Oregon State University (OSU) Extension’s Mid-Willamette Valley Small Farm’s Program and the Oregon Olive Growers association (OGO), generously funded by a grant from the Sustainable Agricultural Research & Education (SARE) program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Olives are an innovative new crop that offers many opportunities for Oregon small farmers to diversify their farms and generate alternative income from value-added farm products. Olea was established with the goals of making olive production economically feasible and reducing climatic limitations for olive growers during establishment in Oregon’s unique growing conditions.
We are currently conducting research and evaluation of the best production practices for olives (Olea europaea) destined for olive oil processing in Oregon. Our research focuses on cultivar selection, propagation, and potting methods, in collaboration with industry professionals. While existing cultivars are not hardy to USDA growing zone 8b, global climate change and subsequent warmer temperatures are predicted to increase Oregon’s suitability for olive production. Olives are an upcoming specialty crop in the state of Oregon as growers look to diversify and to anticipate future climate possibilities.
The primary objectives of the Olea Project include:
Determining most effective olive propagation techniques
Establishing the cold hardiness of existing olive cultivars
Evaluating transplanting and up-potting strategies for rapid orchard establishment
Disseminate information to to industry stakeholders, growers, and the general public