Boundary Bend Plants California’s Second Largest Medium-Density Grove

Officials from the company said the medium-density groves provide them with the flexibility to select the best olive variety for each growing condition.
Photo: Boundary Bend
May. 28, 2021
Jasmina Nevada

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Six years after the com­pany first set up shop in California, Boundary Bend has planted the sec­ond-largest medium-den­sity olive grove in the United States.

We have just planted two groves of 450 and 350 acres (180 and 140 hectares),” Paul Riordan, the company’s co-founder, told Olive Oil Times.

Studies have shown that the pro­duc­tions of a medium-den­sity grove over a 30-year life cycle are higher and more sus­tain­able than high den­sity.- Francesta Van Soest and Paul Riordan, Boundary Bend

The deci­sion to plant the groves in west­ern Yolo County was made after a care­ful cli­mate analy­sis and con­sid­er­a­tion of other fac­tors.

Yolo County is located in the Sacramento Valley of north-cen­tral California and is renowned as one of the most fer­tile regions in the state.

Officials from Boundary Bend, which earned five Gold Awards at the recently-con­cluded 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, said the com­pany decided to plant medium-den­sity groves for the numer­ous ben­e­fits that they pro­vide com­pared to tra­di­tional and other types of groves.

See Also:Olive Center to Host Webinar on Modern Table Olive Production

Francesca Van Soest, the company’s tech­ni­cal sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager, and Riordan said that medium-den­sity groves work for every type of olive vari­ety and allow the com­pany to tai­lor each site to the vari­ety that is best suited for it based on soil qual­ity, topog­ra­phy and other fac­tors.

The vast major­ity of non-tra­di­tional groves in California are either high-den­sity or super-high-den­sity plant­i­ngs of Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki.


Van Soest and Riordan said that the wider vari­ety of olives con­ducive to medium-den­sity groves will allow Boundary Bend to pro­duce olive oils with a broader range of organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Studies have shown that the pro­duc­tions of a medium-den­sity grove over a 30-year life cycle are higher and more sus­tain­able than high den­sity,” Van Soest and Riordan said. Of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance and impor­tance is that a Colossus har­vester will be imported over from Australia, and this type of har­vester will be the first of its kind used in California.”


Photo: Boundary Bend.

The impact of this type of this mas­sive olive tree cul­ti­va­tion effort will result in a sig­nif­i­cant and mean­ing­ful increase in California olive oil pro­duc­tion with­out any impact on pric­ing, the two added.

In California, as opposed to other loca­tions, there is more demand than sup­ply, so olive oil prices are gen­er­ally not affected by the addi­tional acreage.

Additionally, dif­fer­ent types of olive vari­eties are being planted by Boundary Bend on a scale that has been largely unseen in California, accord­ing to Van Soest and Riordan.

They added that this will pro­vide Boundary Bend with com­pet­i­tive advan­tages and the poten­tial to tap new mar­kets with dif­fer­ent styles of extra vir­gin olive oil in com­mer­cial quan­ti­ties.

However, California is in the midst of a long period of drought and many farm­ers have reported that they are not both­er­ing to plant new crops as a result.

Climatologists say that the drought is the direct result of La Niña, which has pushed more humid and moist air north, leav­ing California with­out the nec­es­sary rain­fall for many types of crops.

Thus far, Boundary Bend has not seen any direct impact on pro­duc­tion – after all, olives are extremely drought-resis­tant – but a sus­tained period of drought could limit the amount of avail­able water for crop pro­duc­tion and devel­op­ment.


Photo: Boundary Bend.

Van Soest and Riordan added that the company’s pre­cise drip irri­ga­tion sys­tem allows them to strate­gi­cally apply water on a daily, weekly and monthly basis when it is needed most.

This tar­geted irri­ga­tion allows the com­pany to mon­i­tor soil mois­ture lev­els and ensure the trees receive the exact amount of water needed to pro­duce the high­est quan­tity and qual­ity of olive oil with­out being waste­ful.

Boundary Bend has also installed a sim­i­lar sys­tem in their groves, which allows them to do the same with fer­til­izer. The sys­tem mon­i­tors the olives through­out their growth and devel­op­ment cycle, alert­ing agron­o­mists when more needs to be applied.

We cer­tainly see a bright future for olives in California and are com­mit­ted to increas­ing our sup­ply of sin­gle-ori­gin, 100-per­cent California extra vir­gin olive oil, to pro­vide to the con­sumer,” Van Soest and Riordan con­cluded. We will con­tinue to iden­tify oppor­tu­ni­ties to increase our own pro­duc­tion and work with local farm­ers to plant more olive groves.”


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