Mover over Italy and Spain. Make way for California.
California’s olive oil industry has been on a tear the past decade, producing extra virgin olive oil rivaling the EVOO made in Italy, Spain, France, and elsewhere
. And it appears our industry is positioned to become a heavyweight in the Golden State’s agriculture business.I’m not the only one predicting this. A recent report
from the Olive Center at the University of California, Davis,
says “if the trends of recent years continue, olive oil will be a major California crop in the future.”The UC Davis study offers a snapshot of our industry. It focuses on the method we use to plant our trees: super -high-density plantings
. The result: a fresh, high-quality EVOO
.The speed in which we can harvest olives prevents the olive from decomposing before we extract the oil. The UC Davis study examines the super-high-density (SHD) olive industry starting in 1999 – when the first SHD olive trees were planted in California – through 2008. It shows that
- 12,138 acres of SHD olive trees were planted in California by the end of 2008.
- Large growers, including California Olive Ranch, accounted for 78% of all acreage planted; small growers followed at 12%; and medium growers accounted for 10%.
- Arbequina is the No. 1 olive variety planted in the SHD system, accounting for 78 percent of SHD acreage, or 9,400 acres.
- Arbosana is the No. 2 varietal at 16 percent, or 1,688 acres
- Koroneiki is No. 3 at 6 percent, or 681 acres
At California Olive Ranch
, we have more than 5,000 acres of olive trees in northern California. We cultivate another 5,000 acres through the growers we work with under contract. All told, we have a bit more than 6 million trees under cultivation on some 10,000 acres.Bon appétit,Claude S. WeillerVice President of Sales & MarketingCalifornia Olive Ranch