More than half of California’s olive groves are right here in the San Joaquin Valley. But Tulare County growers say that with a major olive cannery set to buy more Spanish olives, the future for olive production looks grim.
We talked to grower Jim Simons from his olive grove near Visalia. He and other farmers are scrambling to figure out what to do with an anticipated bumper crop this year in the face of what they say is devastating news. One of the two canneries in California, Bell-Carter, has just terminated its contracts with most of its growers. It turns out it’s cheaper for Bell-Carter to import unprocessed olives from Spain, where the crop is subsidized, than to buy them locally. The Olive Growers Council of California says unless legislators help growers find a solution, some could lose their farms.