In California, we directly manage over 3 million olive trees here in northern California. What makes olive trees unique vs. other California crops. We're glad to tell people we use less water, recycle our waste, and minimize our use of fertilizer.
Further, we are implementing the uses of Regenerative practices to improve the health of our soils and better the environment by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Here's a look at our practices:
Reduced Water Use
We use more than half the water per acre that other orchard crops require. How? First, olives require less water than some other crops. Further, we use drip irrigation to water our trees. That means less water is lost to evaporation. Also, the “super high density (SHD) system” or vineyard style where we grow our trees closer together allows us to use less water to irrigate our crops.
One hundred percent of our olive harvest waste (the pomace created in the process) is recycled.
Here’s how we handle the byproducts of our extra virgin olive oil:
- The waste water applied to leaves and branches pulled out of our harvest process as well as from our tree grooming efforts to create a compost we reapply to our orchards.
- The leftover olive fruit and pits, or pomace, are sold to cattle stockyards as cattle feed.
As a result, no waste is ever sent to a landfill.
Efficient Farming and Reduced Fertilizer Use
Very little of our land is “wasted.”
Our SHD growing process allows us to use the land more efficiently. We plant our semi-dwarf olive trees 575 to 670 trees per acre. That’s well below the traditional method of 100 to 150 trees per acre.
In addition to high yields per acre, the SHD method of olive cultivation requires much less fertilizer. Similarly, we "stress" our trees - much like vineyard operators do for wine grapes - to boost our oil output. That, too, means we can apply less fertilizer.
We are implementing regenerative practices across our acres, from the planting of a diverse cover crop (to help sequester carbon) to minimizing the tilling of our acres. On our organic orchards we are also introducing livestock to graze our farm to introduce health biology into the soil.
Caring for Natural Resources is a core value of California Olive Ranch and we are constantly looking to improve our practices for the betterment of the environment and our EVOO.