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olives Overview

Today, California remains the only U.S. state to commercially produce olives for canning. About 50 percent of production is destined for canning as California-style black olives; another 46 percent is pressed into olive oil. Much of the olive oil consumed in the United States is still imported, but olive oil production has increased from 5,000 tons in 1999 to 74,000 tons in 2012. The USDA classifies the olive as a fruit, not as a vegetable or an oilseed.  December 2013 ...  Olives


  • California Olives, Marketing Orders, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA.
  • The Economics of Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A North American Perspective, DELIZIA Brand Olive Oil Company, Oakland, California, 2003 - The economics of extra virgin olive oil is a broad and extremely complex subject. Factors that affect this market include: the European subsidy to European Union farmers, labor, production cost, marketing subsidies and good old-fashioned politics, to list a few. The paper is a brief discussion of olive oil economics highlights the core elements that affect the actual cost of producing high-quality olive oil.
  • Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS), Foreign Ag Service (FAS), USDA.
  • International Olive Growers Council - This site presents the steps taken to increase the returns obtained from olives, the source of income for over seven million families around the world, as well as the measures taken to raise product quality and to find new markets.
  • Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), USDA - These reports estimate agricultural commodity production and related items.
  • Olivebusiness.com - Australian olive industry site. Salsi Pty Ltd is a family-owned company incorporated in Australia. The company's interests cover a range of activities in the food production and marketing, publishing, Internet and learning industries.
  • California Olive Oil Council, Berkeley, California.
  • The Olive Industry, Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation, Australia, 1997 - Handbook on olive marketing and production.
  • Olives, Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA.
  • United States Standards for Grades of Olive Oil, AMS, USDA, 1948.
  • What’s Extra Virgin? An Economic Assessment of California’s Olive Oil Labeling Law, ARE Update, University of California, 2009 - A new California law adopts international olive oil grades.


  • California Olive Reports, NASS, USDA.
  • Olive Center, University of California-Davis Cooperative Extension - This center addresses the research and education needs of California olive growers and processors.
  • Olive Oil: "A Rediscovered" California Crop, ARE Update, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics, University of California, 2005.
  • Olive Production Manual, 2nd Edition, University of California, 2005, $35 - This manual, considered the definitive guide to olive production in California, has been revised and updated. The second edition contains new and expanded information on pollination, pruning, irrigation, mechanical harvesting methods, postharvest handling and processing methods, and olive oil production. The manual also includes information on new pests.
  • Olives, Specified Fruits and Nuts by Acres: 2007 and 2002, 2007 Census of Agriculture, NASS, USDA, 2009.
  • Organic Olive Production Manual, University of California, $18 - This manual provides detailed information for growers on production issues, plant nutrition, economics, pest and weed control, management of olive wastes, the conversion process and organic certification and registration.
  • Pest Management Guidelines for Olives, University of California Cooperative Extension.
  • Sample Costs to Establish a Medium Density Olive Orchard and Produce Bottled Olive Oil, University of California Cooperative Extension, 2011.
  • Sample Costs to Establish a Super-High Density Olive Orchard and Produce Olive Oil, University of California Cooperative Extension, 2007 - This study presents the sample costs to establish a super-high-density olive orchard planting on a trellis system and produce olives for oil in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The super-high-density system is still fairly new to California and its long-term performance is not known.

Businesses/Case Studies

  • Ahead of the Curve, Rodale Institute, 2005 - Ten years ago, Phil Coturri helped set the trend for organic olive oil production in California.
  • Olive Grower’s Council, Visalia, California - This council formed in 1978 due to a large influx of new plantings on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. That year, the processors told the growers that they would only give them the price to cover harvest – nothing for the cost of the product itself. In response, the olive growers got together to figure out a strategy for the future.
  • Texas Olive Ranch, Wimberley, Texas - More than a decade after planting his first trees, Jim Henry finally harvested a crop from his 60-acre olive orchard and manufactured the first and only Texas-made olive oil, all of which was sold before it was ever bottled.

Links checked July 2012.

Related Links

Olives, Fruits and Nuts: 2007 and 2002, 2007 Census of Agriculture, USDA, 2009.



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