The Olive Tree charts Carol Drinkwater's colourful and often dangerous journey in search of the routes that olive cultivation has taken over the centuries. Set during a springtime Mediterranean that is evocative and perennial, it is above all a tale of our time. Troubled by challenges her own South of France farm is experiencing - attack by a virulent pest, the premature ripening of the trees' fruits - Carol realises new approaches to farming are becoming essential. Traditional customs have been set aside while the use of excessive chemicals is putting the harvests of her crops (and others) at risk. Changing patterns within the world's climate demand urgent action.
Anglo-Irish actress Carol Drinkwater is perhaps still most familiar to audiences for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. A popular and acclaimed author and film-maker as well, Carol has published nineteen books for both the adult and young adult markets. She is currently at work on her twentieth title.
When she purchased a rundown property overlooking the Bay of Cannes in France, she discovered on the grounds sixty-eight, 400-year-old olive trees. Once the land was reclaimed and the olives pressed, Carol along with her French husband, Michel, became the producers of top-quality olive oil. Her series of memoirs, love stories, recounting her experiences on her farm (The Olive Farm, The Olive Season, The Olive Harvest and Return to the Olive Farm) have become international bestsellers. Carol's fascination with the olive tree extended to a seventeenth-month, solo Mediterranean journey in search of the tree's mythical secrets. The resulting travel books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, have inspired a five-part documentary films series entitled The Olive Route.
Carol has also been invited to work with UNESCO to help fund an Olive Heritage Trail around the Mediterranean with the dual goals of creating peace in the region and honouring the ancient heritage of the olive tree.