Olive growing is a tough business

NOT FOR SISSIES: Olive grower Craig Rippon, right, the owner of the Springvale Estate near Alicedale explained the highs and lows of olive growing in the Eastern Cape at the Port Alfred Garden Club meeting, held at the St Paul’s church hall on Tuesday morning. Rippon is seen here accepting a token of appreciation from club chairperson, Liezl Kleynhans Picture: ROB KNOWLES

The latest Port Alfred Garden Club meeting, held at the St Paul’s church hall on Tuesday, introduced olive farmer Craig Rippon who spoke of the pitfalls of growing this highly-prized fruit.

Rippon, who had previously farmed sheep, cattle and Angora goats, came to the Eastern Cape in 1996 but realised that farming as he had done in the past was not viable, so he looked around at what crop he could farm profitably.

After visits to olive growing nations such as Spain, Italy and Greece to see their olive groves Rippon came back to South Africa and began planning his farm, Springvale Estate near Alicedale.

For more on this story, see this week’s Talk of the Town.

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