16 Feb

Olive business blossoms

By Andrea Bennett,

When Clifford C. Graber first came here from Indiana, he lived in a tent on his land.

He built his house and planted citrus trees as the burgeoning industry that would later define the region was catching on more than a century ago.

It was a different fruit, though, that would occupy Graber’s interest, delight his palette and eventually, inspire Ontario’s oldest business – Graber Olive House.

Ranchers at the time picked olives that flourished in the area, experimenting with home-curing recipes to share with neighbors and friends.

Graber’s recipe, which remains a family secret today, was a huge hit. And in 1894, the enterprise was born.

In 1943, Graber’s son, Robert, purchased the company from his father and continued the tradition. His own son, Cliff, 70, has been running the show since 1973.

The manzanillo olives have a trademark complex and buttery flavor that comes from picking only the ripe fruit from the trees.

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