Tommie Williams planted five acres of olive trees in 2010. This fall, he's harvesting his first crop and processing and bottling olive oil.
LYONS, GA (WTOC) -
Tommie Williams opened an "olive garden" in Toombs County, but not the famous restaurant chain. The agribusinessman and state senator planted five acres of olive trees in 2010. This fall, he's harvesting his first crop and processing and bottling olive oil.
"We've made some Toombs County olive oil that we think is good. The taste is good," he noted.
He told WTOC that South Georgia soil and climate have been good for the crop when he and others traditionally thought it would be the opposite.
"We always thought it was too humid here, too wet at times. Most of the olives are grown in the Middle East where you don't have rain for most of the summer," he noted.
Williams is sharing his experience so far in hopes more farmers will plant olives and develop a new crop for Georgia.
"If we were to grow a market, we wouldn't have enough oil right now. So we want to find some growers that are willing to go in and grow some olives for oil," he said.
Currently, Georgia has fewer than 100 acres of olives planted.