Wildfires Not Expected to Impact Record Olive Oil Production in California

The 2017 harvest is on track for a record production of 4.3 million gallons, according to the California Olive Oil Council.

California Olive Ranch
Oct. 23, 2017
By Olive Oil Times Staff
California Olive Ranch

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October finds olive oil pro­duc­ers through­out California dust­ing off equip­ment, mon­i­tor­ing oil con­tent and prepar­ing for har­vest. As the state begins what is expected to be an unprece­dented har­vest, mother nature chal­lenged the course of events in sev­eral oil-pro­duc­ing regions with wild­fires in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake coun­ties and beyond. Overall the indus­try is expect­ing only minor set­backs, accord­ing to the California Olive Oil Council (COOC).

The 2017 har­vest, tak­ing place from October through December in California, is on track for an esti­mated total pro­duc­tion of 4.3 mil­lion gal­lons. This would be the high­est pro­duc­tion to date, with the fall 2016 har­vest hav­ing pro­duced 3.5 mil­lion gal­lons of extra vir­gin olive oil and 4 mil­lion gal­lons in 2015.




The antic­i­pated land­mark num­bers are being ush­ered in at an oppor­tune time for the indus­try. This har­vest coin­cides with remark­able growth in both pro­duc­tion and demand. 

From 2015 to 2016, nation­wide sales of California olive oil expe­ri­enced almost 40 per­cent growth year over year accord­ing to IRI data. This is 10 times the over­all cat­e­gory growth of 4 per­cent. This upward trend in demand is being reflected in wide­spread invest­ment in new acreage.

As of August 2017, there are over 40,000 acres planted in California for the pro­duc­tion of extra vir­gin olive oil. This num­ber is com­prised of over 400 grow­ers and pro­duc­ers of olive oil in California, with the great­est con­cen­tra­tion of olives for oil through­out the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. 

An addi­tional 20,000 acres are antic­i­pated to be planted by 2020, accord­ing to the COOC, increas­ing the total acreage by 50 per­cent. With the dev­as­ta­tion caused by the recent wild­fires some­what iso­lated to the North Bay region, con­sumers are likely to be unaf­fected as pro­duc­tion vol­umes and price com­par­isons are expected to remain constant.

In an effort to sup­port pro­duc­ers impacted by the wild­fires, the COOC has estab­lished a fund­ing mech­a­nism to assist those in need. Contributions will be donated to recov­ery on behalf of the entire industry. 

In addi­tion, a reg­istry has been set up on the COOC web­site for those who have been affected to become eli­gi­ble to receive aid.


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