Olive Harvest Begins

Oct 7, 2010 8:14 PM

The olive harvest is here.. and although it's about two weeks later than normal, north state farmers say it was worth the wait. Lewis says, "I think I've picked more olives this year than we did last year already, and we're only in two weeks."

Lewis Johnson is a local Oroville olive farmer. With more than 150 acres of old growth trees, he's thrilled to finally begin his harvest. He started his "Butteview Olive Oil" company in 1999. He's since won many awards for the quality of his product. Johnson's harvest began two weeks ago, and already he sees a surplus.

"We'll end up picking probably 60-75/80 tons this year, for the table industry," Lewis says. Which seems to be the case for all three growing areas in California. Although this year's harvest was delayed a few weeks due to the cool summer weather. Crops have been more abundant than ever.

Butte County Agriculture Commissioner, Richard Price, explains just how much of a staple olive growth is for California. "It's become more of a niche product in California and as a result the value and importance of product has gotten larger in the last few years."

A successful harvest not only benefits local farmers, but also generates lots of money for the county. Richard says, "now we're up to averaging over $4 million a year in value for the crop."

After last year's unsuccessful harvest, this year's crop is more important than ever, and as Lewis Johnson assures us, so far, so good. "This season is a lot better that last year. There's no doubt about that." Harvest season will last until the second week in November.


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