25 Apr

More Olives May Mean Fewer Grapes

Written by Tim Daly,

If you haven’t heard of the Corto Olive company yet, you will fairly soon.

Corto Olive is located near Stockton and the company is hoping to make a very big splash in the olive oil industry.

Corto is planting thousands of trees near Lodi and Stockton and hoping to produce about 600 thousand gallons of olive oil per year. That would double the 300,000 gallons currently bottled by all of California’s producers.

The managers at Corto are trying something different to make it happen. “A new method of growing olives has come about. It’s super-high density. We can grow instead of 100 trees per acre, 700 trees per acre,” said Corto’s Brady Whitlow.

Corto is doing something else a little differently. They’ve bought a huge newspaper ad in the Lodi News Sentinel asking local grape growers to consider switching their land over to olives. Grape growers are getting so little money for their product because so many vineyards are in the ground that six growers have agreed to make the move toward olives, according to Whitlow.

Mark Chandler runs the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission. “I haven’t seen anything like this before. Typically it’s getting wineries to shift from one grape to another. Shifting to another crop, we haven’t seen that before,” he said.

Corto will begin releasing olive oil under its label and others in the next year or so. Another olive oil producer near Oroville is also close to marketing its product. Americans currently get about 99 percent of their olive oil from other countries.

[Source] Click here

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