Environmental Sustainability at California Olive Ranch


The hardy, desert dwelling olive tree makes olives the most water efficient, low input crop to grow. Using this to our advantage, California Olive Ranch’s olive trees are on 100% drip irrigation, which increases water usage efficiency and allows less water to evaporate. The soil’s moisture content is managed in real time with solar powered probes. This ensures we use as little water as possible, or less than half of the water per acre as required by other orchard crops. This allows us to control nutrition to the tree and minimize our amount of inputs.


For very efficient land use, we grow up to 675 of our small 9 foot trees per acre rather than 125 per acre in a traditional olive grove. We use over the row mechanical harvesters developed in a partnership with a specialty crop manufacturer using the concept of mechanical wine grape harvesters. These machines gently shake our olives from the trees, collecting them in carriages inside the harvester, and transfer the olives to gondolas moving with the harvester in the next row. No olive fruit ever touches the ground.


Supplying restaurants and stores around the country brings us a lot of joy, and we continue to grow and invest in the California olive oil industry. Last but not least, every California Olive Ranch employee earns a living wage, pays taxes and receives full benefits, all supporting our local and national economy.


California Olive Ranch has selected the olive varietals, Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki because of their flavor profile and for their resistance to the olive fruit fly. With our integrated pest management system, we first use pheromone attractant traps to catch any olive fruit flies and place owl boxes in our orchards. When absolutely necessary, we use a direct spray method of applying pesticides. We monitor our fields to ensure that we are meeting the stringent guidelines under the California EPA standards. This ensures the safest fruit being delivered to our mill. We test our oils every year for residual pesticides.


Producing olive oil is actually quite a simple process, and there are only three waste streams that are created from the process: water extracted from the fruit, tree trimmings and remaining skins and pits, which we call pomace. We are committed to wasting nothing, so we spread all of the water back onto our fields to irrigate our trees. We recycle the tree trimmings as mulch back into the soil on our ranches. And local cattle ranches use the pomace for cattle feed. It’s that easy!


All of the glass we use for our bottles is 100% recyclable, and all corrugate cardboard we use for our foodservice products is sourced from 50% recycled material. All of our plastic bottles are made from HDPE and PET plastic. Along with our plastic caps and bags, our plastic bottles are recyclable and BPA free.


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