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California Olive Ranch doubles production capacity

California Olive Ranch, Oroville, Calif., expects to double its production capacity this year after signing a long-term agreement with another large, California olive oil producer.

Olive Glen Orchards in Glenn County will provide 100 percent of the fruit from its 700 acres of high density olive trees to California Olive Ranch, already the largest olive oil producer in the nation, farming 1,700 acrs of olives near Artois and 500 acres in Oroville.

This pack will give California Oliver Ranch more than 100,000 gallons of extra virgin Arbequina olive oil available from the 2007 harvest alone.

“We went with California Olive Ranch because they are the recognized leader in the California olive oil market with proven milling and marketing experience, especially with the Arbequina and other high density olive varieties,” said Bill Carriere, president of Olive Glen Orchards.

This new, large supply of olives is especially important to California Olive Ranch since oil produced from their 2006 harvest was committed literally within days of going on the market. The demand for fresh oil from California far exceeded the amount the state's producers could provide in 2006 due to a late frost that damaged many orchards up and down the state.

"We first contracted with Olive Glen Orchards as a supplier in 2004 and have been very pleased with their commitment to quality that is very similar to our own," said Alan Greene, vice president, sales and marketing for California Olive Ranch. "Obviously, we are thrilled that we can increase our production in the short term for 2007. What is even more exciting to us, however, is the fact that as more trees mature to fruit-producing stages, our production capabilities will expand by leaps and bounds in the coming years and as early as 2008."

There are more than 250 olive oil producers in the state. However, California Olive Ranch produces approximately one-third of the total olive oil produced in California and the U.S. Now, along with its new increased production capabilities, ongoing recruitment of contracted growers, additional planting of high density orchards and multi-tiered expansion plans that include constructing a new, state-of-the-art processing mill by 2009, California Olive Ranch is well on its way to achieving its ambitious goal to produce and provide more than one million gallons of extra virgin olive oil by 2011 to satisfy an ever-growing consumer market.

Established in 1999, California Olive Ranch was the first olive oil producer in the nation to utilize the Super High Density (SHD) tree planting system which compresses the land by 80 percent and significantly increases the number of olive trees per acre as compared to a traditional olive orchard. In fact, approximately 550 to 650 olive trees can be grown per acre using the SHD system as compared to about 120 trees per acre on a traditional olive orchard. In addition, using a mechanical harvesting system, 99 percent of the fruit is harvested in a mere three seconds per tree which maximizes freshness and significantly reduces time from the tree to the bottle.

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