Lynn & Pat enjoyed over 30 years living on the waterfront community of Sarasota. Lynn had an orthodontics practice near Siesta Key and Pat was a commercial real estate appraiser. They raised a family and enjoyed the tropical lifestyle on Florida’s Gulf coast.
Upon retirement in 2014, they were looking for their next adventure and bought a 77 acre farm in north Florida. They successfully grew beautiful stands of various grasses for hay, had a prolific vegetable garden and a small orchard but were looking for a joint project in which they could both participate.
The grove was named after Thomas Jefferson for several reasons: the town of Monticello is named after Jefferson, the grove is located in Jefferson County, Florida, and Dr. Dettenmayer received his undergraduate degree at the hallowed grounds of Mr. Jefferson’s university in Charlottesville, Virginia. In October 2017 they discovered the intriguing world of olives. There are many cultivars of olive trees which produce the finest oil and olives for eating as well.
History of Jefferson Olive Groves
Olives are one of the newest crops to be grown in north Florida/south Georgia. The climate and soil in this region is similar to that of the Mediterranean basin, where olives have been growing for centuries. Some trees are dated to 2,000 years of age and still producing olives. In Florida, olives are a relatively new commercial crop with much trial and error in the process. Jefferson Olive Groves is the first, and as of now, the only olive grove in Jefferson County. The University of Florida is conducting extensive research to assist growers in producing a successful crop.
Most trees start producing olives for harvest in 2 to 3 years.
The grove contains 300 trees. The first winter, one of the coldest in recent history, damaged 20% of the crop, despite attempts to protect the young trees. In the Spring the damaged trees were replaced.
Jefferson Olive groves is thriving, despite the continuing challenge of weed control!
Our plan is to harvest the olives for processing into pure, locally grown oil for sale at a later date.