Liquid Gold: Growing Olives in the Sunshine State
-- Customer Story
Tired of trudging through long Wisconsin winters, John and Beth Barth migrated to Florida in 1989. “We found Bushnell, Fla., through a friend of Beth’s,” John says. A little more than an hour north of Tampa, Fla., the town and its population of less than 3,000 offered the peace and quiet the Barths craved. “And it’s got big oak trees,” John adds.
The couple purchased a 10-acre property beneath some of those sprawling oaks and discussed what to do with the rest of the land. “What about olives?” The couple wondered. On a whim, they purchased 10 trees and planted them on their property.
Olive trees are tough and long-lasting—one of its most endearing, if not enduring, qualities is its hardiness and ability to thrive in poor conditions. The sandy loam soils around the Bushnell area force most farmers to use the land for cattle pasture. Yet, olive trees thrive in northern Florida, agreeing with the Sunshine State’s clime, as well as the soil. “We have to keep the weeds out,” Beth says, “and ants … especially around the little trees as they’re getting established. The big trees aren’t so much of a worry.”
In 2010, John and Beth Barth realized they needed a tractor to maintain their land. “We didn’t really know what to buy,” John says. “We wanted a small tractor.” The Barths drove to Brooksville, Fla., 30 minutes away and purchased a shiny red GC2400.
In the five-plus years the Barths have owned the tractor, John has put more than 285 hours on it. “I’ve spent hundreds of hours with the front-end loader, moving wood chips, soil and driveway stone,” he says, noting it’s a small but powerful tractor.
“It’s not a big machine,” John explains, “but it’s perfect. It’s quick; that’s one of the nice things about it. The tractor gets around the front yard and house real fast.”
To see more about the Barths’ farm and their equipment, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/farmstead/liquid-gold-growing-olives-in-the-sunshine-state/.