Follow The Olive: Commercial Cultivars

The olive cultivars grown commercially throughout the world at present all originated as selections of chance seedlings, which were then increased vegetatively, some over many centuries. In the traditional olive growing countries of the world, usually the best seedlings were selected and propagated. The same cultivar is often known by different names in different countries and in some cases the same name has been applied to two different cultivars.

Many olive cultivars have been imported to South Africa over the past century, yet only a few have proved to be successful under local conditions. In the Western Cape, these are Mission, Manzilla, Kalamata, and Frantoio.

Olive Cultivars are generally classified into three groups:

  1. Table Olives, which are suitable for processing green or black. The best processing cultivars are suited to specific recipes regarding taste, texture and appearance. Most cultivars suited only for green processing have good flesh to pit ratio when green, but tend to become soft on ripening while those suited only to black processing are firmer when ripe, but usually have poor flesh to pit ratio.
  2. Oil Olives suitable only for oil production. These are usually small fruited cultivars which produce oil having desirable characteristics.
  3. Dual purpose olives can be used for both oil and table olive production. Sometimes olives suited to green and black processing as well as oil extraction are termed triple-purpose cultivars. Mission could be classified as such.


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– Olive Production in South Africa by Carlo Costa

SA Olive introduces “FOLLOW THE OLIVE”

An in-depth look at the journey our beloved olives take from as early as being planted to the end of their life-cycle… being tasted and enjoyed! We look forward to sharing snippets of fun and fascinating information with you over the course of the year.

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