Whether you enjoy it on your pizza, in a freshly-baked focaccia bread, in a shaken-not-stirred Martini, or simply straight out of the jar, the olive is a wonderful, versatile little fruit!
Every year the Riebeek Valley celebrates this Mediterranean climate delicacy with its annual Riebeek Valley Olive Festival. Ranging from award-winning olives, olive oils, jams, tapenades, and even soaps ─ if you can imagine it, they probably have it.
But the olive is more than just something to fill the gap on the large platter plate you received as a wedding gift. Here are a couple of fun facts to get you into the spirit for olive season!
- The maturity of an olive determines its colour. Starting out green, olives then turn a darker maroon or black as they ripen. A few rare varieties do not change colour but turn whitish.
- The olive tree is an evergreen, which means that it never loses its leaves, and has an average life span of 300 to 600 years.
- The oldest olive tree is the Olive Tree of Vouves on the island of Crete in Greece and is approximately 2000 years old!
- The olive is, unfortunately, not the type of fruit you can just pick and eat directly. The fruit needs to be treated with lye before it is pickled for consumption.
- Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil, with Italy taking second place.
- Olives are a rich source of Vitamin E, A and K!
- Your baked treats will last longer when butter is substituted with olive oil – that’s the vitamin E and biophenolics doing their job!
Celebrate all things olive at these stays on working olive farms:
Oudewerfs Olyfplaas – Still Bay
Oudewerf Olyplaas is located just outside of the popular coastal town, Still Bay, on a working olive farm. With breathtaking views of the Goukou River, this farm offers accommodation in two free-standing houses accommodating five to six guests each.
Ricky’s Drift – Vanwyksdorp
This organic olive farm is a hidden gem in the Olyvenrivier Valley just three kilometres outside of Vanwyksdorp in the Klein Karoo. There are 3 cottages accommodating ten guests and you can even have a picnic in the oldest olive orchard in the area!
Kredouw Olive Estate – Prince Albert
At Kredouw Olive Estate there is no cell reception and you’ll need to fire up a ‘donkey’ for hot water, making it the ideal getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle. Take a dip in the 12-metre-long pool and enjoy the exquisite view towards the mountain and the waterfall, known as Goue Krans.
Klein Nektar Farm Cottages – Montagu
Mkholo Olive Farm – North West
Mkholo Olive Farm offers quality accommodation in three fully-equipped cottages on a farm, just a 20-minutes drive from Lanseria Airport! The privacy of every cottage allows you to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the olive farm.
Rhebokskraal Olyf Landgoed – McGregor
Rhebokskraal is the picture-perfect dwelling to escape the city noise. An Olive Culture tour can be arranged on request, during which guests will experience the groves, an olive tasting and a meal under the oak tree.
Olive Grove Guest Farm – Beaufort West
Olive Grove is renowned for its delicious olives, olive products and mouth-watering Karoo lamb. The farm boasts olive, sheep and game farming with the Karoo National Park only 17 kilometres away!
Will you be celebrating all things olive in the Riebeek Valley? Or find your own way to a beautiful olive-orchard getaway? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature image: Klein Nektar Farm Cottage (TravelGround)