California Olive Oil Production Reaches 13,300 Tons

An estimate by the California Olive Oil Council reveals strong growth in the state's production and market share.

Dec 12, 2016 10:37 AM EST
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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If California were a coun­try, it would rank between Albania and Lebanon in terms of annual olive oil pro­duc­tion, which is esti­mated to be 13,300 tons this year, accord­ing to fig­ures released today by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC).
See Also: Complete Coverage of the 2016 Olive Harvest
While olive oil pro­duc­tion is also found in other states includ­ing Texas, Florida, Georgia and Arizona, the bulk of American olive oil is from California, and today’s fig­ure is in line with a November 2015 fore­cast by the International Olive Council that pro­jected 14 mil­lion tons of U.S. out­put for the 2015/16 sea­son.

The state’s sup­pli­ers now account for 5.8 per­cent of the olive oil con­sumed in the U.S., the COOC said in a state­ment; a dra­matic increase from its 2 per­cent mar­ket share just a few years ago.

At the same time, olive oil giants includ­ing Spain, Italy and Greece are expe­ri­enc­ing drops in pro­duc­tion this sea­son due to a con­flu­ence of cli­matic fac­tors, fruit fly infes­ta­tions and cycli­cal down­turns. Italy, in par­tic­u­lar, is expected to see half the out­put of last year.

While the fig­ures reveal a grow­ing indus­try poised to cap­ture an ever-grow­ing piece of the world’s sec­ond-largest olive oil mar­ket, it has­n’t been easy for pro­duc­ers in the state. A pathogen akin to bulls eye rot” began spread­ing among olive cul­ti­vars com­monly used for oil pro­duc­tion over the sum­mer and aggres­sive com­pe­ti­tion has dri­ven fruit prices higher.

But amid the grow­ing American appetite for high-qual­ity olive oil the out­look for California pro­duc­ers is bright, said the COOC, which was recently awarded a third grant of $357,000 from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

The COOC’s exec­u­tive direc­tor, Patricia Darragh, said, The award will strengthen California agri­cul­ture over­all by build­ing part­ner­ships that will advance the immense impor­tance of both the olive oil seg­ment and the over­all agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity.”


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