Olives are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Furthermore, their high Vitamin A content helps protect the eyes from diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Olive trees are widely grown around the world for their fruit, oil and wood. They often serve as symbolic trees in monasteries or other communities.
Early Life and Education
The olive tree is revered throughout Africa for its wood, fruit, and leaves which are believed to possess healing powers. Warriors carry its branches shoulder high into manyatta (large circular enclosure) for ceremonial blessing and its olives are burned as a token of good luck.
Stone mills and hammer mills are two main machines used to crush olives for oil extraction: stone mills are preferred as their ability to maintain temperatures below 86 degrees protects polyphenols from breakdown.
Hammer mills employ metal bodies that rotate and throw olives at screens, producing higher temperatures which could result in oxidation and astringency of the final olive oil produced (Alba Mendoza 2001). To avoid this outcome during malaxation process, keep paste temperature low (Alba Mendoza, 2001).
The School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine brings together world-class research in olive sciences, plant biotechnology, soil science, horticulture, integrated pest management, viticulture, wine business as well as innovative solutions to industry through cutting-edge research, education and product transfer.
Australian olive cultivars exhibit low nuclear genetic diversity and share similar African plastid haplotypes throughout their invasive range (Australia, Norfolk Island, Kermadec Island, New Zealand and St Helena), suggesting secondary introductions from Cape area may have occurred and led to hybridization with European olives invasive in Australia and Norfolk Island, Kermadec, New Zealand and St Helena. Further genetic analyses using nuclear markers are therefore recommended.
Alongside running her family farm, she serves as a mentor for women working in the field and provides holistic support to her employees including financial literacy training. This has allowed them to overcome challenges like balancing work and family life, having husbands hesitant to support their career goals or raising children at home.
Achievement and Honors
As an emblem of peace and joy, the olive is widely revered throughout history; from Greco-Roman jars and frescoes in Minoa to Egyptian pyramids; its fruit and oil are treasured around the globe.
Sarah Ben Romdane and her team of female farmers at Tokara Farm in Bou Thadi work tree by tree under an orange sky using small hand rakes to loosen and dislodge olives so they fall gently onto large nets laid out on the ground.
At last, their hard work has paid off: Their robust Premium Blend won a gold medal at the 2022 New York International Olive Oil Competition — beating over 800 other oils from all around the globe to take first place! This accomplishment represents a major triumph for South African olive industry; it shows that our EVOOs can compete with those produced in Spain, Italy and Greece.
Olive trees are essential plants in the Mediterranean economy, used as an ingredient for cooking and cosmetic products alike. Their fruit has also long been recognized for its medicinal qualities; helping with everything from high blood pressure to sore throat.
Olea africana (African wild olive) can be found throughout afromontane forests of Sudan, Somalia, East tropical Africa and South Africa at altitudes reaching up to 2,500 meters.
African olive is an invasive weed spread by birds and foxes, quickly taking over native vegetation once established. Invasiveness has proven especially problematic in Australia where it has drastically reduced the number of native species growing beneath canopy cover.
South Africa is currently home to some of the leading producers, where most groves can be found lining the lush valleys of Cape Fold Belt. Production centers on Frantoio but other varieties such as Coratina, FS17 (aka Favolosa), Mission and Kalamata can also be seen growing here.
Multiple Mediterranean cultivars have been introduced into new environments outside their native range and have since become high-impact invasive species. Australia provides an opportunity for research on early genetic admixture between domesticated and wild taxa.
Phylogeographic analyses demonstrated that both O. europaea and O. cuspidata subspecies of olives had spread to Australia, Norfolk Island, Hawaii and Saint Helena through multiple introductions. Furthermore, molecular data indicated that populations found on NSW, Norfolk Island and Hawaii likely originated from South Africa since they possess two haplotypes found exclusively in Western Cape regions.