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Local olive oil producers predict a strong harvest

Local olive oil producers say last year’s harvest was one of the worst yet, but many hope that will change this season.

Farmers like Dan Rohde of Templeton Olive Oil say olives have alternate bearings.

It means one year could produce a lot but the next year none at all.

Unfavorable weather conditions during 2018 left some growers with no olives.

“We had a freeze that took out the bloom and we had a very, very light year,” said Rohde, owner of Templeton Olive Oil.

Rohde says he has enough to last through November, but many of his competitors didn’t get so lucky.

“A lot of them have online stores that they have to shut down for the year and some can’t even participate in local olive oil festivals,” said Rohde. “We got 2 tons and normally we get about 20 tons.”

Favorable conditions help reap a good harvest.

“Blooming usually happens for two weeks in May and you don’t want too much wind, you don’t want too much heat or freeze, you just want a nice two weeks and you are set,” said Rohde.

With recent rain activity, Rohde says this year looks promising, so promising it could produce this staple cooking ingredient in bulk.

“A lot of order and pre-order because they want it right away,” said Rohde. “At first it’s cloudy and unattractive but still has all the health benefits and tastes really, really good.”

A surplus could mean lower prices.

Local growers say it’s a little too early to tell what this harvest will look like, but they hope to get better idea once the plants bloom in May.

Farmers say they harvest in November and put the product on shelves the following year.

Megan Healy

Megan Healy

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