I love the character of this particular tree that I have drawn. It is inspired from a photo (p. 150) in Giorgio Locatelli’s cookbook about Sicilian cooking, Made in Sicily. The ancient olive trees in Sicily, Locatelli says, are called Saracens. This tree reminds me of of the ancient olive I saw at Delphi, Greece, about eight years ago. Its trunk was so large it may possibly have been a thousand years old–or at least that’s what it seemed like when I saw it.
Ancient olives have such character in their forms. I wonder, if the trees could talk, what might they say? In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, olive trees are a symbol of life because traditionally they were the source of fuel used for light also for cooking, as well as in ceremonies.
Olives are one of my favorite foods, and their oils can be quite distinctive. Recently, a friend brought my husband and I a bottle of olive oil from his area in Alvito, Italy, a few hours south of Rome. The oil was golden in color, light in flavor, and had a wonderfully surprising floral after taste. Olive oils vary according to climate, soils, and the way they are produced.
Olive trees with their silvery leaves, great trunks, and ability to survive through periods of serious changes in weather or lack of water, are trees that truly age beautifully. Take care of them, and they will continue to produce fruit for perhaps millennia. That’s down right amazing.
I hope I can become as beautiful as such a tree when I become ancient.