Aug 15th 2013

 Paso Robles California Olive Festival

Paso Robles Main Street Association presents:

The Tenth Annual Paso Robles Olive Festival

click the above link to see our feature story!

Page 26

Paso Robles Olive Festival

Saturday, August 17, 2013
10 am - 5 pm
Downtown Paso Robles City Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                


May 21st, 2013


Contact:                 Shannon McOuat, Marketing Coordinator

                                    Transitions-Mental Health Association



                                                          AN EXCITING NEW CENTRAL COAST INVENTION: 




San Luis Obispo, CA – The Western Weeping Olive TM "Fruitless!" Tree, developed on the Central Coast, has been US Patent Approved. There are over 800 million olive trees currently growing in the world and now one unique tree from San Luis Obispo County is available.


The Western Weeping Olive TM "Fruitless!" Tree was invented and developed in the beautiful and historic Santa Margarita Ranch Area. According to the inventor, Blair Shurtleff, there has not been a new olive tree to come along that has all of the great qualities of olives such as drought tolerant, multi or single trunk, beautiful bark, able to withstand temperatures of extreme highs (100-120) and periods of low teens.




Shurtleff, a horticulturalist and the inventor of this phenomenal weeping olive was a California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo), Ornamental Horticulture/Fruit Science major in the 70’s and is a long time resident of SLO County.


“I have collected trees from all over the world and I set out to find something different,” said Shurtleff. “Unique plants have always been my passion and this invention of the Western Weeping Olive TM "Fruitless" will change the olive tree landscape market. This is the most unique and spectacular tree to enter the market in years!”


Shurtleff has spent 18 years growing this tree, putting it through 6 formal years of rigorous testing in a licensed and secure testing facility, used one of the finest plant patent attorneys, John Peck, KPPB, of Newport Beach California. Typically, trial periods for plant patents usually only last 2-3 years.


“I have spent years online researching every olive tree, olive tree nurseries, worldwide Plant Breeding and Patent offices to guarantee that there is no other olive tree like this in the world,” said Shurtleff. “This is the first new plant patent to come along in over 20 years and it was developed right here on the Central Coast.

“There are 180 large 15 gallon 6 year old trees available during the sale and over 3,000 one gallon trees,” said Craig Wilson, Program Manager for Growing Grounds Farm.

 Propagation Strictly Prohibited and violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


“There will not be another sale of these trees for at least four more years after the next batch of 10,000 grows, but they will never be sold at this low price again,” explained Shurtleff. “The reason the prices are so low for this initial offering is because we want the trees to stay in SLO County. By giving back to the community we hope to keep this first batch local.”


This event is the initial release of a new horticultural product through Growing Grounds Farm in San Luis Obispo, a program of Transitions-Mental Health Association. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated back to the program. The olive trees alone will be for sale. There will be no sales of other nursery stock on these days.


“Working with Growing Grounds Farm on this project has been an honor and the best thing to happen to us,” said Shurtleff. “They are an honest and trustworthy group. We try to do everything locally so it was a win-win to be able to give back to a program that does good things for the community.”



It weeps: Long, flexible weeping habit with 6' (when mature) weeping structure. It cascades. The branches shoot straight up then after a few months turn and grow down.


Next to no leaf drop: Very few leaves ever drop from this tree. There is next to no clean up. This is also excellent for landscape plants in fire prone areas.


The leaf color: The Western Weeping Olive Tree leaf has a deep, dark green and SMOOTH top side with the soft grey 'olive color' underside. It will shimmer in the wind.


The leaf size: Over twice the leaf size of all other olive trees.


Fruitless: All of the Western Weeping Olive Trees set no olives but a rare few set some 'shot berries,' a very immature fruit that never matures or drops on the ground, dry, so no hazards or mess! This is the only fruitless olive under patent in the world.


Care: The olive requires little care and can be left natural for life. It can be pruned and shaped for patio trees or can be laced to enhance the weeping characteristics. Needs little fertilizer and always has its rich, dark green leaves, with beautiful olive color undersides. Grows in the same soil mix as all other olives. Grows in zones 8-11.


High wind resistant: Tested in 70-80 mph winds with no leaf loss, no branches broken and little leaf tear.


Deer resistant: These trees were tested with and against five other varieties of olives and scored number one in deer resistance. The deer normally left the Western Weeping completely alone but on some consumed some leaves or few leaf tips never to touch again. These trees were tested in extreme deer conditions.


For more information about the tree, contact Blair Shurtleff at 805.602.7321 or  or visit


For more information about the sale, contact Growing Grounds Farm, San Luis Obispo at 805.543.6071.



Growing Grounds Farm expanded from a small vegetable garden in 1984 to a wholesale nursery and is a flagship program of Transitions-Mental Health Association. The program is recognized as one of California’s most compassionate, proactive forms of treatment for adults suffering from mental illness. The Farm now supports a population of 65,000 plants, most suitable for a Mediterranean climate zone, with a strong focus on water-wise California natives, select bearded Iris, restoration and mitigation plants. More than 1,000 people have worked at the Farm and have made real progress in their recovery. For more information, visit



Transitions-Mental Health Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating stigma and promoting recovery and wellness for people with mental illness through work, housing, community and family support services. TMHA operates 27 programs at over 35 locations that reach over 2,000 people and 1,500 families in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. The emphasis of TMHA's many services is to teach vital independent living skills, and build a framework for community re-entry through personal empowerment and hands on experience. For over 30 years, TMHA has been dedicated to providing housing, employment, case management and life-skills support to teens and adults with mental illness; and support, resources and education for their loved ones. For more information, visit