Creative Diversification

20160901

olivesClear Creek Farm in Ocala has found an uncommon pairing that allows their high-end products to get to market without much waste.

Clear Creek Farm has anchored itself in producing Wagyu cattle and olive trees, but the story doesn’t end there. Paste that is removed from the olive oil during processing is mixed into cattle feed and the olive pits are used in the farm’s own line of body care products.  The farm doesn’t even let their cattle’s fertility go to waste, taking advantage of an international market with few suppliers—Wagyu embryo sales.

Farm proprietors Bill and Kay Dennis utilized their backgrounds in Equine breeding, business and leadership and committed themselves to continued learning in their new ventures.

In the spirit of being a lifetime learner, Bill Dennis partnered with the University of Florida to allow students to get hands-on experience with projects on the farm, such as embryo transfer, as well as use their facilities for research.

Dennis works cattle in chutes designed by Dr. Temple Grandin to reduce stress on the animals.

“We don’t want to think of it as ‘another cow, another cow, another cow’—they’re too expensive and they’re too important,” said Dennis. “So we don’t think about them so much as a herd and ‘herd management’ as much as we think of it as individual animals.”

After testing a small plot of olive trees on their existing Marion County Wagyu ranch, and discovering Wagyu beef is rich in Oleic Acid—a “healthy” fat which also composes the majority of olive oil—they decided olives were a perfect fit for their farm and expanded their olive grove to include 10,000 trees.

“You can have olives anywhere,” said Dennis. “But you need to get fruit. They need 200-300 chill hours for them to produce olives, making Marion County perfect for them.”

Clear Creek Farm now boasts its own olive mill with state-of-the art equipment shipped in from Italy, including a Pieralisi Centrifuge, one of only two in the U.S.

While they wait for the majority of their olive grove to mature, Clear Creek buys top quality olives from other farms to make their olive oil. They can also mill and bottle oil for other farms who don’t have their own mill.

 

Look for more on Clear Creek Farm in the October issue of FloridAgriculture Magazine.