George and Sheri Braun had talked of having an olive grove for over a decade but never considered the possibility of their idea growing on Canadian soil until they explored the fertile Fulford Valley on Salt Spring Island. Sheri came to Salt Spring as a child, as her mother was born there and her grandfather, Stanely Wagg, was the manager of the General Store in Ganges, now JJ Bean Coffee house. Her mother was born and raised in a little house on main street, Ganges in what is now a retail shop that sells various wooden carvings. George and Sheri visited Salt Spring Island together as teenagers and have a photo of themselves at the top of Maxwell Mountain, with what one day would be their farm, laid out in the valley below. The challenge and hope that SSI would be fertile enough to allow an olive grove to flourish seemed like a perfect fit and a natural place to call home.
George and Sheri lived much of their life in Cochrane, Alberta - not the most fertile of growing environments! From there they went on to Kelowna where they had a cherry orchard but the dream of an olive grove eventually brought them out to Salt Spring Island.
Olive trees take a long time to mature and produce fruit, especially the quantity of fruit needed to press oil. Our trees are nearing nine years old and the first harvest was a wonderful success. We are busy on the farm and can't believe we just wrapped up our seventh harvest!
Please check back often to follow along on the progress of our trees and olives!
The hope for the future of The Olive Farm is that we will continue to have successful, annual harvests and each year the amount of olives grown and oil pressed will increase. We are so thrilled as we have begun to share our oil with the world and have been humbled and inspired at the response generated by our unique project. We are busy doing all we can to continue the dream that we have started.
A couple on Salt Spring Island followed a far-fetched dream to plant an olive grove. As Julie Van Rosendaal learns, their first batch of 100-per-cent Canadian olive oil proves it was a leap of faith worth taking...
Over the first weekend of this past December, with the first light of day, a group of excited friends, family and farm workers arrived to hand pick 1,000 hardy Canadian olive trees. Our group of faithful and energetic pickers harvested over 1,000 pounds of olives that were milled on site, within hours of being picked, into a vibrant and rich harvest of the first ever 100% Canadian Olive Oil. See our harvest gallery...
After our successful start in 2016 we carried high hopes for the harvest of 2017. Unfortunately, these hopes were not met. A perfect storm converged including but not limited to, the harshest winter on Salt Spring Island in the last 30 years (requiring an aggressive spring prune on our young and damaged trees) coupled with an early November frost. The result was a very small crop and an even smaller quantity of oil. See our harvest gallery...
We have celebrated a successful crop and harvest for 2018! Though the fruit was lovely and the oil is even lovelier, the yield isn't quite what we had hoped for, leaving us somewhat discouraged. We are busy working our way through names of people on our pre-order list but we will not have enough oil to fill all of the orders. Thank you for your patience and interest! Keep praying for sunshine and warmth! See our harvest gallery...
Our earliest and longest harvest yet! This year a large group of joyful pickers sang their way through our first four-day harvest which yielded the most amount of fruit (and oil!!!) that we have seen yet, by far! We are filled with gratitude for the sunshine this past year, and for the people that have surrounded our dream with encouragement and support. And of course, excitement and optimism for the coming season! See our harvest gallery...
A trip to Spain in 1999 inspired Sheri and her husband George to attempt a 100 per cent Canadian olive oil. Late last year, they realized their dream, producing extra-virgin olive oil entirely on Salt Spring Island, B.C...
The sunny, south-facing, gentle slope planted with rows of short trees could be mistaken for any stone fruit orchard or vineyard on the island, but this is 'The Olive Farm', Canada’s first large-scale olive grove...
GLOBE & MAIL
2022 turned out to be a delightful surprise! With our three to four week delay in spring arriving, we were not sure if we could achieve a harvest this year. Happily, the sun shone all through September and October and our beautiful little olive trees flourished and caught up with their ripening. Harvest time was very successful with a wonderful group of people who helped us take the crop off. We achieved a more bountiful result this year and are hopeful that this will continue in the years to come.
We still hope to achieve our goal that one day we will be able to supply a bottle of 100% Canadian Olive Oil to everyone who has requested it!
Thank you all for your encouragement and continued support!
George and Sheri Braun
Looking ahead to 2023
We have wrapped up our 2022! A harvest update is coming soon! As well as the opening of our online shop! As is normal for farm life, we are already looking ahead to 2023. Thanks for following along on our journey!
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HARVEST 2022 UPDATE
2022 turned out to be a delightful surprise!...
1901 Fulford-Ganges Rd,
Salt Spring Island, BC | CANADA