- Author: Diane Nelson
Table olives have always been a staple on my family’s fall relish tray so I took notice when I heard this discouraging news: Labor costs are killing the table olive industry. Table olive growers spend more than half of their gross returns on the cost of manually harvesting their crop.
“That’s a ridiculous equation,” says Dennis Burreson of Orland, grower and chairman of the research committee of the California Olive Committee. “We can’t survive if we’re spending more than half our gross returns on labor.”
But here’s the heartening news: With the help of UC Cooperative Extension specialist Louise Ferguson (right) and a large group of collaborators, the industry is doing something about it. They are developing the means...
- Author: Judy Sams
How do you use California table olives in your family meals? On pizza? In salads? In Mediterranean dishes? As part of your holiday relish trays?
Today, California is the only U.S. state to commercially produce olives. Over 95 percent of production is canned as California-style black-ripe or green-ripe olives.
California table olive (Olea europaea L.) growers rely on the primary ‘Manzanillo’ cultivar. To assure absolute quality, harvesting is done by hand. Using ladders, crews hand-harvest the olives off each branch, tree by tree. There can be 1,000 olives on a tree, so each crewmember can pick only two or three trees a day. Hand harvesting expenses account for roughly...