This is the expectant time of year where we watch for olive blossoms, blossom set and the resulting fruit set. Flower bud sprouting initiates the process of inflorescence. Average flowering used to be around May 10 but clearly with a change in climate we are seeing inflorescence now in mid-April. This year this is a full 4 weeks early. Temperature for the past two months have determined the time of flowering. Lower temperatures mean longer flowering periods, while high temperatures shorten flowering. Hail, frost, and very high winds may destroy flower buds. Water and nutrient stress between bud sprouting and six weeks before flowering reduce the number of flowers per inflorescence and increase the number of lost blossoms. So time will reveal what our actual crop will hold for us.
This is the first time that we as growers have a glimpse of what our crop may be in the fall.
And so far this looks like an amazing year at our groves. Some varieties will produce
heavily one year and not the next, which is normal for olives. This year, as was last year, our Frantoio is productive & the Aglandau French variety has more blossoms than we have ever seen. It is during flowering that wind pollination occurs. A good book for reference is Olive Growing by Barranco, Fernandez-Escobar and Rallo, from the University of Cordoba, Barcelona, Spain, 2004.
As olives are wind pollinated, the winds of Suisun Valley are welcome. The word “Suisun” means “west wind”. Suisun Valley winds come in the afternoon from San Francisco and San Pablo Bay and bring cool temperatures. We would like to have the blossoms stay a little longer on the trees so as to have a really good fruit set. But in farming we do not have those choices, nature is fickle.
We do have bees on site for honey production and to help with the gardens and citrus pollination. Bees love the pollen and nectar in the olive grove but olives produce differently.
We use the Italian variety named Pendolino to help with pollination of all of our olives. This is a productive tree in its own right, and makes a beautiful green grassy tasting olive oil.
Bring on the Suisun wind to help pollinate our olives.
Here are blossoms from our Farm for you to enjoy.