Alder, ever eying the plants, spotted fruit on an olive tree, and came back with a few black olives.
They were still there after the winter, which is a very ODD thing. Olives normally ripen in the Fall, which means this tree either bloomed in the middle of winter, or else the olives hung there all winter-unlike another unloved tree a mile or so away, where we found dried up olives all over the ground, and none on the tree.
We decided that if that they were hanging there dead ripe, it meant no one in that parking lot wanted them, so we drove over and picked what we could reach off the tree-and then parked the Prius under it and stood on it to glean higher.
Our small first "harvest" of gleaned olives is now in a brine bath.
Olives are naturally inedible right off the tree, so you have to soak and rinse and soak and rinse, in pretty salty water, until they are tasty.
Here's a link to a document Alder found about pickling olives. http://ucanr.org/freepubs/docs/8267.pdf
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive and PFAF also have great info on "
And we know where there are about 1/2 a dozen more trees, who's olives dropped (don't know why this tree's didn't) so we plan to visit those this Fall!
I can see easily becoming obsessed with olives, as people are with wine...there are so many different cultivars-some better for eating, some better for oil pressing, oooh, and then the oil....Sigh.
On my way back from Sacramento several weeks ago, I stopped in Corning, at the "Olive Pit", a restaurant and olive store/tourist stop, and bought several kinds and flavors of olives...so far, my favorite is the Manzanillo style, with pickling spices and a bit of hot pepper. MMMM.