Move over peaches and pecans, olives may soon start to grow into Georgia’s number one cash crop.
Just ask Bob Krueger in Hawkinsville. He saw Georgia’s potential about a year ago when he planted a farm of olive trees. More specifically, he’s planting olive trees to produce olive oil.
“I’ve got 22 acres here, and I’ve got 13,200 trees planted here,” Kruger says.
He planted them in June of 2012, which means it will be at least another two years before his olive trees start producing enough fruit to actually produce and sell.
Georgia, specifically areas further south in the state, are actually quite perfect for the olive tree to thrive. The trees need a hot and dry climate, which is exactly what Hawkinsville provides.
Kruger noticed a few years ago something unique about the United States’ olive oil consumption. To start, he noticed that we consume nearly 74 million gallons of it every year, and of that, nearly 98% is imported.
“I noticed, gee whiz we’re only producing two percent of our own consumption here. That’s a tremendous market potential,” Krueger said.