Olive Oil Production in California
Watch the below video to learn about the history of the olive oil industry in California. Take a tour of olive groves in California and follow the olives from harvesting to milling. Learn about the attention and care that goes into producing fresh, high quality California extra virgin olive oil.
Alternative text: Take a tour of California’s vast olive groves and follow the olives from harvest to mill, the below video highlights the history of olive oil production in California. Learn about the attention and care that goes into producing fresh, high quality California extra virgin olive oil.
Throughout much of the 20th century, the industry languished until a new generation of health-conscious Americans rediscovered the flavor and benefits of extra virgin olive oil. In the early 1990’s olive groves and orchards were revived, and new varieties were planted, signaling a renaissance in the California olive oil industry.
Now, in the 21st century, the California olive oil industry has emerged as a major player in the global marketplace. The revitalized industry has pioneered the cultivation of a huge variety of olives (75 and counting!) from a range of climates. Unlike many European countries known for regions that grow the same few varietals, California offers greater variety, blends and unique flavor profiles. There is truly a California extra virgin olive oil for every palate!
Of the 350 agricultural products produced in California, olive oil is one of the most dynamic. In late autumn, after most of California’s other crops have been harvested, California’s olive oil producers prepare for their harvest and milling season.
Weather and fruit ripeness determine the exact moment the harvest begins. Different varieties of olives are harvested at varying degrees of ripeness to capture a wide array of flavors. Thus, with over 75 olive cultivars in production in a myriad of soil types, climates and microclimates, California extra virgin olive oils present the consumers with a virtually limitless range of flavor possibilities.
Freshly harvested olives are rushed from the field to the mill, where they are rinsed in fresh water, and separated from the leaves and stems. Next, the olives are ground into paste which is then mixed to encourage the oil to separate from the surrounding fruit matter and water. Within days, the vibrant elixir can be in the market, ready for use in your kitchens and on your tables.
California’s Growing Regions
Of the 350-plus crops produced in California each year, olive oil is the most dynamic. In late autumn, after most of California’s other crops have been harvested, our members begin their season.
With a myriad of micro-climates in California and over 75 different varieties of olives being grown, California’s olive oil producers across the state craft unique and artisanal products that cannot be replicated.
California olive groves and orchards can be found through out the state and with a majority of the production coming from the following regions.
- North Coast
- Sacramento Valley
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Central Coast
- Central Valley
- Los Angeles
- Inland Empire