QUITO OLIVE and VINE FARM
This farm of eighty-one acres, distant eight miles from San Jose, is situated on the Quito road near its junction with Saratoga Avenue. This particular spot in his great rancho was chosen by Senor Don Jose Ramon Arguello for his country homestead, and here, in 1865, he planted the first of the olives, a small vineyard, and a fruit orchard. His death, in 1876, led to a division of the estate, and in December, 1882, the olive farm passed into the hands of the present proprietor. The development of the place has been carried forward slowly but steadily since that date. The olives had been planted at the extremely short distance of sixteen and a half feet, and were suffering from insufficient soil and lack of air and sun, and in the month of March, 1883, twelve hundred and fifty of from ten to seventeen years of age were cut to the stock and transplanted, with but small loss. Some of these transplanted trees were in fruit the past season, while the remainder are in full bloom for a crop in the season to come. The trimmings of the trees were made into cuttings, and from the nurseries of 1883 and the two following years, nearly fifty thousand trees have been furnished to the farm itself, and to the new olive orchards of this and adjacent counties, and besides these many thousand cuttings have been supplied as such. The entire place is now planted in olives, and vines are planted between the rows of trees, as has been the custom for many centuries in Italy and Spain. There are twenty-five hundred trees of from fifteen to twenty-three years of age, and three thousand of five and six years' growth, from the cuttings, and thirty-two thousand vines of standard wine varieties. During these years (1882-1888), everything has been made subservient to the development of the place, in the remaking of the old orchard, the making of the new, and the planting of the vines; but, notwithstanding this, the oil of 1885 stood first in the tests at the New Orleans Exposition, and received a diploma there, as at various California fairs, and the pickled olives of that and the following years met with a rapid sale.
The wonderful growth of the olive in the exceptionally favorable soil and climate of Santa Clara Valley makes it necessary to give it unusually large distances, and, although the removal of one-half the trees of the older orchard on alternate diagonal lines, left the remaining trees at twenty-three and one-third feet distance, their growth has been such as to demonstrate the need of still further removals. In this season, in March, a number of trees were transplanted, all or nearly all trees now of twenty-three years, and all trees which had been previously transplanted in 1883. In the coming winter from six to eight hundred old trees will be transplanted from the oldest orchard.
It will be readily seen that it is quite impossible to give estimates as to the production of olives, and the profits of olive culture, whether for oil or olives in pickle, based on the experience of the Quito, because, up to 1883, the trees were entirely too crowded to be productive, and because, since that date, the older trees have been recovering from those years of insufficient space, of abuse and neglect, or remaking themselves from the stock, while the younger trees have not as yet reached the year of bearing. The grove does, however, prove beyond a question that the soil and climate of Santa Clara Valley are exceedingly well-suited to the olive, and that the variety known as the "Mission Olive" can produce oil of a high grade, and olives in pickle which find a ready sale in the home market.
The buildings consist of an oil mill—in the upper story of which the proprietor has fitted up a quaint apartment, with the crusher and press addition—winery, barn, and commodious houses for the force. A homestead lot between old oaks, olives, and peppers has been left for a residence; and an attractive feature of the place is the "Pergola," an arbor two hundred feet long by ten broad, made of heavy redwood posts and cross beams, on which climb choice varieties of table grapes, and to the south of which is a line of old olives and fruit trees alternated. In the coming year this will be so completely covered as to give a shady resort from summer heat. It was from vines of this arbor that astonished Eastern horticulturists gathered grapes still palatable, even after the extreme frosts of the season, on the day of their drive through the valley, January 27,1888. Not far from this arbor are some old cherries which seem rather shade than fruit trees, in their extraordinary size. Senor Arguello showed himself well acquainted with his great estate when he chose this spot for the family country home, for its position, although on the plain, commands a view exceptionally extensive and beautiful, while its soil admits no rival for fruit culture.
Whether considered as a place of residence, as an olive farm, or as a wine farm, the Quito is one of the choice properties of the valley, and one of the most beautiful. Its position is such, as related to the many vineyards in the locality, that its plant for wine production and storage will, almost of necessity, be increased this year or the following year. In such case the arrangement of machinery would be so adjusted that in the future, besides a large wine production, it will be able to deal not only with its own olives, but with the olives of a large district, as the newly-planted olive orchards come into bearing; for in olive culture it is inevitable that the system of manufacture will be the same as in the vine and fruit cultures, and as in the olive culture of Italy—the product of many farms will be brought to central mills for the process of manufacture. This is a most desirable economy of machinery, and of skilled and experienced labor as well. This is the Quito's natural and seemingly inevitable evolution. It is clear that the increase of the olive interest in the State, but especially in Santa Clara County, will be very great in the next few years.
Besides the profit of the olive farm, this tree has certain especial attractions. By its almost unlimited life an olive orchard is ever increasing in value. By its hardihood it can occupy much land unacceptable to other fruit trees, and almost valueless for general farm uses. The world's demand for olive-oil is so far in advance of the supply that few articles of consumption are equally adulterated or absolutely falsified, and the mere local demand of California for pure oil is to-day far in excess of the present supply, and increases more rapidly than the production. These facts seem to relegate the question of a possible overproduction to a future so very distant that the olive farmer may safely leave it out of his calculation, even when thinking of his olives as his legacy to children and grandchildren. The olive-oil interest of California is even safe from tariff juggling, which seems to threaten other fruit interests so dangerously at the present time, for it is competing only with adulterations and fabrications, and its patrons are such because it is what they demand—pure olive oil.
There is another important consideration favorable to an increasing olive industry which is being slowly recognized. It seems as if this interest must be pushed to a great development as offering a solution, and at the present the only solution, of the labor question as related to the harvesting of the fruit crop. What other than a very extensive olive interest, with its winter harvest—namely, November 15 to May 1—can take up the great mass of floating labor needed for the fruit and vine industries, as these set free in November, and carry it on until they call for it again in May? Such there may be, but as yet it is unknown in California. If such a development should come, in but a few years the little Quito will be unnoticeable among the many and larger groves of the county; but it will always have its modest place in the history of the valley as the first (that of the American excepted), and that where the experiments, always necessary in a new industry, and often, for a time, disappointing and unsatisfactory to the beginner, have been tried out; and to those who read the history of their home, their long lines of somber green will stand for years, perhaps for centuries, a pleasing memorial of the cultured Spanish gentleman who alone of his generation foresaw the wonderful future of his beloved and beautiful valley; nor will they forget to bless the memory of the old Spanish Padres who brought the olive with them from their Iberian home across the sea. Lovers will bide tryst under the spreading branches, and brides, perhaps, meet their grooms at the altar, as did Beatrice the immortal Dante, in purgatory, "above the veil of dazzling white, bound with the olive wreath;" for through all the centuries it has come down to us as the emblem of wisdom, and has been borne by the herald ever as a sign of peace.
of the Quito Olive Farm, Mr. Edward E. Goodrich, was born at Malden,
Massachusetts, August 12, 1845, but is of the New Haven branch of the
Connecticut family of the name. He was graduated at Yale College in the class of
1866, and at the Albany Law School in 1867. April 23, 1878, he was married to
Miss Sara M. Shafter, daughter of the late Judge Oscar L. Shafter, of the
Supreme Court of this State. Mr. and Mrs. Goodrich have four children —one boy
and three girls.
Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight