The Frantoio tree is a cultivar. It can not only pollinate itself; it is also a good pollinator for many other types of olive trees. The tree branch growth can be trained, making the tree shape such that mechanical harvesters can be used. The tree is sensitive, though, to cold or frost.
The olives ripen late in the season. They are usually harvested at different colours for the oil.
Frantoio Olives are grown throughout Italy. They are also grown in other countries including Argentina, Australia, California, Chile, Jordan and Spain.
Frantoio Olives are native to Tuscany.
Australia had large amounts of olive trees planted in the mid-1800s. Interest in olives and olive oil didn’t really catch on until well over 100 years later, so the plantings were largely ignored and the trees allowed to go feral. In 1998, samples of the olive tree that Australians called “Paragon” were sent to the “World Germplasm Bank of Olive Cultivars” in Spain for genetic testing; the DNA matched Frantoio leaves. Expanded genetic testing in January 1999 confirmed that Paragon olive trees were indeed in fact Frantoio trees.
There are many different names for Frantoio Olives throughout the various regions of Italy. They are grown in Australia under the name of “Paragon”. Correggiolo is often used as a synonym for Frantoio olives, though in Tuscany, Correggiolo is actually a slightly different cultivar that ripens a bit later.
Frantoio is also an Italian word meaning olive mill or olive oil press and factory. You take olives to a frantoio to get them pressed into oil.