Romancing the Olive

Could this tiny, ancient fruit become Maui’s next big thing?



The future

Maui Olive Company’s newest orchard is located just below Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm on Waipoli Road. Jamie and his sons, along with Sal and Erin Diaz, look forward to opening a farm stand there. “I like the ag-tourism model and the idea of a retail outlet that allows us and other local growers to sell our oil,” says Josh. “The appeal is in providing something like a winery experience.”

Jamie nods. “The complexity of the effort is staggering sometimes, but the reward, we hope, is a sustainable food crop that will produce for generations to come.” And Sal Diaz says, “You grow olives for your grandchildren.”

Maui Olive Oil has been entered in two international competitions. Stay tuned for the results.

For more information on Maui Olive Company and crowdfunding possibilities, visit For information on Olinda Olive Orchard, email

Maui-Olives-Olive-VarietiesA Brief History of the Olive

The olive is perhaps history’s most glorified fruit, a symbol of peace, wisdom, fertility and purity. It appears in the New Testament and the Quran, where it is praised as a precious fruit. The ancient Greeks burned olive oil in the temple lamps and used it to anoint kings. It fueled the “eternal flame” of the original Olympic Games, and garlands made of its branches crowned the victors. In Egypt, leafy branches of the tree were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

The Greeks believed that Athena, goddess of wisdom, planted the first olive. Trees growing on the stony hillsides of the Acropolis are thought to be its descendants. Whether or not a goddess had a hand in it, the olive has coexisted with man for 5,000 to 6,000 years, and may have been grown commercially as early as 1,000 B.C.E. The tree most likely originated in Persia and Mesopotamia, and later spread to Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. Most romantic of all, olive trees can live for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Carbon testing has found some trees to be over a thousand years old. It is little wonder that the olive fascinates us still today, connecting and grounding us to a rich and storied past.



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