`Writer Carol Drinkwater Chronicles Olive Heritage - Olive Oil Times

Writer Carol Drinkwater Chronicles Olive Heritage

Apr. 12, 2013
Nancy Flagg

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Actress and writer Carol Drinkwater cap­ti­vated the audi­ence at the University of California at Davis Olive Center with sto­ries about dis­cov­er­ing ancient olive trees on her land and trac­ing the his­tory of olive trees through­out the Mediterranean.

Center Director Dan Flynn intro­duced Drinkwater as one gutsy per­son,” for her solo jour­ney through war zones and other dan­ger­ous places to uncover the route of olive his­tory and cul­ture.

As an actress, Drinkwater is best known for her role as Helen Herriot in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small. Her inter­est in olive trees started when she and her film direc­tor fiancé bought an over­grown plot of land in France. After cut­ting back a jun­gle of veg­e­ta­tion, they dis­cov­ered 68 gnarled olive trees esti­mated to be 400 years old. They began learn­ing about olive farm­ing and at the end of the first sea­son, brought their har­vested olives to a miller who pro­claimed the oil excep­tional, said Drinkwater.

Drinkwater became inspired to learn more about the his­tory of olives. When a fan sent her a photo of an ancient tree in Lebanon, she started on a jour­ney that took her to Syria, Algeria, Lebanon, Turkey, Malta, Greece and other Mediterranean coun­tries. Drinkwater said that she was held at gun­point, stuck in Damascus dur­ing the September 11 ter­ror­ist attacks and had to be parceled” through Algeria in the com­pany of bee­keep­ers. She found a stand of 6 thriv­ing olive trees in Lebanon that were planted around 4,000 B.C.


Her jour­ney is chron­i­cled in her book, The Olive Route. In total, she has writ­ten six books about her olive adven­tures with more than one mil­lion copies sold world­wide, said Flynn. Drinkwater’s lat­est work is a series of doc­u­men­taries inspired by her jour­ney.

Drinkwater will be appear­ing at the New York International Olive Oil Competition on April 16 and 18. She will offer a talk about her dis­cov­er­ies on the olive route and make a pre­sen­ta­tion on how to present liq­uid gold,” said Drinkwater. The mar­ket­ing seg­ment will include lessons learned from her obser­va­tions of 6,000 years of olive trade.


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