It's an art form that requires great patience
A tree will only start to bear fruit in its 5th or 6th year,
and doesn't reach maximum yield until it is 30 years old.
Olive trees bloom between April and June, and the fruit is picked from October to February, depending on the region. Pruning takes place in February and March, and gives rise to many a heated debate between different schools on how best to prune the branches of an olive tree.
As the olives ripen they turn from green to black (there's no such thing as a black olive tree or a green olive tree, it's simply a question of timing the harvest).
Where are olive trees ?
Olive trees can be found in all 5 departments of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region (Vaucluse, Var, Bouches du Rhône, Alpes de Haute Provence, Alpes Maritimes).
Every village has olive trees (whether they are ornamental or used to produce olives), but the largest olive groves are concentrated in the following areas:
You will also find olive trees:
- in the Nice hinterland:
Nice, Grasse, Levens, Castagniers, Tourette sur Loup, La Trinité
- in the centre of the Var department:
Draguignan, Flayosc, Lorgues, le Luc, Besse sur Issole, Carces, Le Val
- in the upper Var area:
Aups, Cotignac, Tourtour, Salernes, Tavernes, Varages,
Barjols, the Fayence area with Bargemon, Seillans, Callian, Montauroux
- in the western Var:
Le Beausset, la Farlède, La Cadière, Le Castellet
- in the Durance valley in the Alpes de Haute Provence :
Les Mées, Lurs, Manosque, Oraison
Each valley produces a different oil, with subtle variations in fragrance.