In Tucson, there are many opportunities to harvest olives in parks and neighborhoods - they are usually ripe in November - December. You want to harvest them from the tree (not the ground!) before the first freeze. Well-watered trees that have not been treated with pesticides are best! Be gentle with the olives, and reject fruits that are soft or bruised. Plan to brine the olives within a couple of days of harvest - brining with salt leaches out the bitterness (you can't eat ripe olives off the tree). Buy your salt in bulk at the natural food store. I use 1-gallon pickle jars for the brining process and pint Ball caning jars for the finished marinated olives. This set of instructions is modified from many sources. Once you brine your own, you will be spoiled and never want to suffer store-bought olives again! Olives prepared as described will remain self-stable for at least a year. This is totally worth the hassle and wait!