01 Aug

Californian Olive crop numbers droop

By Cecilia Parsons,

This year’s “off year” table olive crop looks to be thin and scattered statewide.

Olive growers and processors met in July to estimate the size of the 2008 California table olive crop. Members of the California Olive Committee concluded that processors could expect 65,000 tons this season.

Adin Hester, president of the California Olive Committee, said that estimate may be right on for fruit on the tree, but what is actually picked will likely be less. He blames terrible weather conditions during bloom.

“It’s so scattered in some groves, they may not be worthwhile to pick,” said Hester in a Monday, July 28, phone interview. Growers reported sets ranging from zero to maybe 1 or 2 tons per acre. The industry will be lucky to average 2 tons per acres statewide on less than 25,000 acres, Hester said. That will significantly add to harvest costs.

In 2007, Tulare County reported an average harvest of 4 ton per acre. In 2006, the average was less than 1 ton per acre, the smallest crop in recent history.

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