Monterey County

Ag Report: Drought may be helping local olive crops

Ag Report: Is drought helping the olive crop?

CARMEL, Calif. - In light of the drought, many farmers throughout the state are pursuing crops that require less water.

One such crop are olive trees, and the California Department of Agriculture reports more trees are being planted in the state because of the drought.

Still, that doesn't mean they aren't susceptible to dry conditions.

Olive trees are alternate baring -- that is, they bare a lot of fruit every other year.

Holman Ranch owner Peter Charles says the growth of olives depends on a few things - the year and the weather. 

"In 2011, we got a small cycle," Charles said. "We actually had a rain windstorm come through and it knocked all the flowers off, we lost all the fruit and we produced about 11 cases so that was a pretty tough year."

Olive trees can grow in dry conditions, but local growers say many of their trees are  struggling to produce the right amount of olives - and the reason is unknown.

"One thing that we've picked up on is the olive trees are not flowering like we expected to,"Charles said.  "So we're a little bit nervous about this, time will tell, but at the moment not quite as many flowers that we're hoping for."

The olive harvest is typically in December, but Holman Ranch said they will know soon just how much fruit the olive trees bare this year.

Currently, Charles says the outlook isn't so good.

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