In May, I wrote about the peculiar bloom and fruit set we were experiencing. I thought that it could prove to be a very interesting year. First, I should make a few qualifications about my comments below though. Most of the exposure I get to growing operations is in the coastal zones of California and tend to be from about Monterey south. Also, for the most part they are traditionally farmed orchards and not super high density operations. That being said, during the year I do talk to a lot of people throughout the state and it seems that it is going to be a less than stellar year.
In the spring, my expectation was that there would be a split harvest as a result of the very distinctly defined separation of fruit maturation at that time. I see now that most of the late to develop fruit was actually so late that it amounted to nothing more than shot berries. While it is not uncommon to see a few clusters of olive shot berries on a tree, this year is taking it to a different level. One grower I spoke with in Napa said that he had never had shot berries before and this year, they made up the majority of his “crop”.
In addition to the worthless shot berries, there is also a significant amount of less than mature olives right now. Perhaps they will mature late in the season, but I suspect a lot of them are just going to be small fruit. Typically, however, there are some perfectly normal looking trees in each orchard as well. And just to ensure that there is a whole lot of variety, I’ve seen more than a few clusters that look like this poor totally confused olive tree’s fruit at a vineyard near our orchard.
Taken together, I suspect we will be seeing a very light crop in our traditional areas of operation.
August 20, 2018