Jack Bozzano, an olive oil producer in Stockton, said his crop is probably down by half this year, but he attributes that to the trees’ “off” year and said he did not experience much freeze damage.
Table-olive grower Burkett said the December freeze killed much of the new fruit wood that sets this year’s crop, leaving him with a total of 1 to 2 tons spread throughout his 30 acres. That’s compared to 4-and-a-half tons per acre last year.
“There’s no way that I can harvest,” he said.
Art Hutcheson, who also grows table olives in Tulare County, said in addition to frost damage, high temperatures during bloom hurt production. He described his crop as “light” and said he is debating whether it will be cost effective to harvest, even though his fruit will make good size.
“What we do pick is going to bring good money,” he said. “It’s just not going to be a whole lot of it.”
Growers in Northern California also experienced freeze damage, said Mike Silveria, a grower in Orland and chairman of the California Olive Committee. But their production was much better on the Manzanillo variety, which he described as an average crop, whereas the Sevillano variety appears to be a light crop.
The majority of the north state’s crop is in Glenn and Tehama counties, with about 6,000 acres of Manzanillos and 2,000 acres of Sevillanos, while Tulare County grows predominantly Manzanillos, Hester said.California table olive growers report a ‘real bad’ crop,