Olives in Florida

Many people know California as being a prominent olive producer in the U.S., but did you know that a small but growing number of olives are also produce in Florida?1 Growing olives in Florida is now being considered as an alternative to growing increasingly less sustainable or profitable crops.2  

Olive Facts

  • Olive trees are evergreen and are known for their slender, gray-green or silvery leaves. The undersides of the leaves have hairs that help retain moisture.3
  • Native to the Mediterranean, olive trees are cold, drought, and salt tolerant tolerant.
  • Trees are actually more productive on less fertile soils than they are on fertile soils and are usually not affected by pests and disease.3
  • Olives right off the tree are very bitter and have to be processed before they become edible.3

As Florida growers turn their sights to more sustainable crops, we may see more olives and olive oil produced in the Sunshine State.5 For more on current research in Florida olive production, please see the UF/IFAS Small Farm Olive page.


  1. Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, Sandra A. Allan, Jonael H. Bosques-Mendez, and Lyle J. Buss, Pests and Fungal Organisms Identified on Olives (Olea europaea) in Florida, ENY-871, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2014, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1046
  2. “Citrus Extension Alternative Crops,” UF/IFAS Citrus Extension, 2015, http://www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/alternative_crops/
  3. Mack Thetford, Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, Michael J. Mulvaney, Olives for Your Florida Landscape, ENH1254, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2015, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep515
  4. Louise Ferguson and Paul Vossen, “Growing Olives in Florida,” UF/IFAS Citrus Extension, 2012, http://www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/olives/presentations/Ferguson2/index.html
  5. Beverly James, “Reeling from citrus greening, UF/IFAS researchers support new olive industry in Florida,” IFAS News, 2016, http://news.ifas.ufl.edu/2016/02/reeling-from-citrus-greening-ufifas-researchers-help-launch-olive-industry-in-florida/

Photo credits: Inácio Pires/Thinkstock