14 Aug

Lack of Workers Poses Threat to Olive Harvest

This year’s olive supply is definitely causing a demand for laborers to harvest the crop. Local growers say they cannot find enough people to help with the harvest. They say there are many reasons the labor force is lower this year, but the main problem is the huge loss of migrant workers.

In past years, North State orchard owners have hired seasonal migrant workers to harvest their crops. However, due to recent restrictions on migrant workers entering the country with temporary work permits, the number of olive pickers has drastically decreased.

The olive harvest is very labor intensive because olives are predominantly picked by hand. It may be hard getting it all harvested, as the California Farm Bureau predicted this year’s olive crop to be five times bigger than last year’s.

“Like last year, labor is going to become an issue,” Kurt Albrecht of Chaffin Family Farms told Action News, “we’ll probably be short on laborers and we’ll have a tough time getting everything harvested in a timely fashion.”

Albrecht says the timing of the harvest is crucial because if olives are too ripe, canneries will not want them. The leftovers will be used to make olive oil.

The harvest usually begins in mid-September.

[Source] Click here

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