Congaree & Penn Hosts Olive Weekend
Congaree and Penn Farm & Mill has taken on a new initiative as an alternative to growing citrus in Florida. Citrus Greening Disease, also known as Huanglongbing, has caused significant devastation to Florida’s citrus crop. According to researchers from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at University of Florida, the citrus greening disease has caused, “approximately $7.8 billion in lost revenue, 162,200 citrus acres and 7,513 jobs since 2007.” As researchers struggle to find a cure, farmers across the state have looked to find the next lucrative agricultural industry. Some Florida farmers have begun investing time and resources to explore the world of olive trees and olive oil production.
Seeing this destructive disease take a toll on local Florida farmers, Congaree and Penn recognized that olive oil could be a fruitful new industry in Florida. They constructed a plan in 2016 in order to help establish this new industry in Northeast Florida. In 2017, this plan came to fruition when they started producing 25,000 olive tree varietals in the Jacksonville area.
Congaree and Penn is dedicated to making this new industry flourish. In addition to selling a portion of these olive trees to local farmers, there is also a plan to act as a resource and buyer to new olive farmers in the area. To that end, the farm will be hosting an Olive Oil Weekend January 27-28. The weekend begins with Notte D'Oliva, a farm to fork dinner featuring Mediterranean flavors prepared by Chef Ryan Randolph. On Sunday there will be an olive open farm day when visitors can learn about growing olives in Florida and participate in workshops and sample olive oil and wine tastings. Admission includes an Arbequina olive tree or an award-winning bottle of olive oil.
For more information on the Olive Weekend, visit Congaree and Penn's website.