California table olive growers report a ‘real bad’ crop

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Hester noted that at a growers meeting held by processer Bell-Carter Foods last week in Visalia, not one grower from the San Joaquin Valley predicted yields of 4 tons per acre. Very few said they had 2 to 3 tons per acre, while half of them said they’re not going to pick at all.

Meanwhile, the state’s oil olive crop appears to have fared better.

Patricia Darragh, executive director of the California Olive Oil Council, said estimates for the oil sector are not available until mid-September, but she expects the state will produce about 3.5 million gallons, similar to last year. She said the crop was going to be lighter this year anyway because of the alternate-bearing factor, but noted that some new trees have also come into production. Current acreage is about 35,000.

“Some of the growers have reported a little bit of an increase in production, but some have reported a decrease in production. It does vary throughout the state,” she said, noting that individual growers in certain areas may have suffered more freeze damage than others.

Unlike the state’s table olive production, which is concentrated in Tulare, Glenn and Tehama counties, oil olive production is “pretty far flung in the state,” Darragh said, “so that’s positive for us.”

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