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Amid Drought, California Olive Harvest Expected To Double In 2015

Aug 13, 2015

The effects of drought have altered the quantity and quality of vegetables grown in Central California, but that may change for table olives. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

The majority of olive trees are self-pollinating. If there’s a storm during bloom time the rain washes off pollen from the flowers resulting in fewer olives come harvest. That’s what happened in 2013 and 2014. But this year weather conditions were so ideal that California’s crop is predicted to double from 36,000 tons to 67,000 tons.

Adin Hester with the Olive Growers Council of California says dry weather in Tulare County is the reason for the growth.    

HESTER: “Unfortunately olives are very sensitive to weather conditions. Last year was a terrible crop, there wasn’t much tonnage at tall. Essentially what happened is they got two years of rest and so they   came back better this year.”

Despite the increase, Hester says the total acreage of table olives is decreasing because of foreign competition and plantings of other crops like almonds. He also says if it wasn’t for a lack of surface water even more table olives could be grown in the state.