California Olive Oil News©
A Publication of The Olive Oil Source 
California Olive Oil News -

Volume 5 Issue 3

March 2002

Olive Day 2002 March 2002 COOC Members Meeting
Olive Fly Update Comments from the Internet
Lee Iacocca & Olivio Events:      Briefs:

Lee Iacocca & Olivio supports Diabetes Research

Boston – Retired auto executive Lee Iacocca announced today that he will personally donate an amount equal to 25% of Olivio Premium Products annual sales to support diabetes research. Olivio, a buttery-tasting spread made with extra light olive oil, was developed in 1991 by Iacocca and his family in an effort to help make olive oil a more important part of the American daily diet. It’s cholesterol free and has only 1 gram of saturated fat per serving -- butter has 7.

“In Italy they use olive oil on just about everything,” says Iacocca. “But in America we all grew up on peanut butter, so we like to spread things. Olivio has a light and creamy taste like butter but is made with olive oil, so it’s actually better for you.”

Iacocca began supporting diabetes research in 1983 when his wife Mary died from diabetic complications.  If sales grow as projected, Iacocca will donate $2 million to support diabetes research at the end of the year. A year ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta made headlines announcing Type 2 diabetes was a “skyrocketing epidemic in America – up 40% between 1990 and 1999.” The reason cited was: Americans are more and more overweight and less and less active.

Iacocca and his son-in-law, Ned Hentz, President and CEO of Olivio Premium Products, are members of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable. Together they work closely with renowned nutritionist Dr. Walter Willett, to develop healthier and better-tasting products for mainstream distribution.

Health magazine in their July/August 2000 issue named Olivio Premium Spread one of their “Ten Tastiest, Low Fat Foods.

Olive Day 2002
At Sacramento, CA

Sacramento: U.C. extension specialist Louise Ferguson moderated an excellent morning session at the California League of Food Processors Expo February 5th. As usual, most of the content was aimed at table and canning olive growers.

Testing of mechanical harvesters

She started out the session with her field test of the Korvan 5000, Agrite and Olipicker olive harvesters. Again, many of the assumptions were oriented toward “black ripe” canning olives, Manzanillo being the dominant variety. Louise and U.C. have been involved for years with this project. Picking labor has been increasingly expensive and difficult to obtain and is the largest cost growers face. The Agrite is a self propelled picker while the Olipicker is a tractor mounted articulated arm with oscillating head similar to the Olivary. Much of her subsequent remarks centered around the Korvan, a self-propelled platform with multiple rotating heads with long plastic fingers and a catch frame and conveyor system. It takes one operator driving, keeping the catch frame skirts in contact with the trunk and another operating the rotating picking heads on swing arms. The machine moves at 1/2 MPH and can pick a tree in about 60 seconds. This works out to harvesting .4 acre per hour. Machine operators are paid $13/hr and a helper is around $9/hr. Korvan cost is around $200K. The machine is being sold as cost effective for olive orchards of greater than 180 acres.

Korvan harvester

Mechanical picking involves several different operations. The first is fruit removal. The Korvan removed 66% of the fruit in the trials. The fruit that was removed tended to be more mature and larger. Canners want minimal bruising during this step and the Korvan is fairly kind to the olive. A spokesman for Bell Carter, one of the largest canners in California, reported that last year mechanically harvested olives brought in to their inspection station 5 hours after harvesting had a damage rate of 35%. 2/3 of damaged olives were only minimally damaged, 1/3 had moderate to severe bruising or cuts. (Hand harvested fruit has a much lower damage rate). This could be minimized by brining the olives in the field but cannery representatives in the audience noted that doing so would prohibitively double transportation costs.

The second step is catching the olive. Earlier versions of the Korvan had problems catching the olives but the manufacturer reported that now only about 10% or less miss the catch frame and are lost to the ground. This could be minimized by buying left and right hand versions of the machine to run in tandem down the rows or by pulling a catch frame with a tractor on the other side of the tree.

The olives must then be collected and conveyed to a cleaner, in this case a powerful fan, and dumped into orchard boxes. The Korvan will be built to order this year. It is anticipated that contract pickers will buy the machine as is done in the almond, walnut and grape businesses.

Economic Model of Mechanical Harvesting

Karen Klonsky then took the results of the field test and extrapolated an economic model for mechanical harvesting. Contract harvesting was priced at $250/acre plus $150/ton. Other assumptions: Because the mechanical harvester preferentially removes riper, larger olives, culls would be 2.3% with the harvester, 3.7% with hand picking. The harvester would remove 66% of the olives, hand labor would remove 95%. Mechanical harvesting would be followed by hand harvesting to remove unpicked fruit. Price received would be $720/ton for mechanically harvested olives, $708 for hand picked olives. Hand harvesting would cost $260 per ton.

Karen concluded that mechanical harvest costs per ton were lower than hand harvest costs but removal rate is lower. At 3 tons of olive yield per acre the cost for mechanical and hand picking is about the same. With higher yield per acre the cost of mechanical picking would seem to decrease. Although close, at all yields per acre hand harvesting gave higher revenues per acre than mechanical harvesting. As efficiency of mechanical harvesting increases and cost of hand harvesting increases, mechanical harvesting will become more attractive.

Although mechanical hedging and topping of olive trees gives the machine a nicer working surface, Louise Ferguson cautioned that in her experience it drastically decreased yields. More research must be done in optimizing existing trees for mechanical harvesting.

Resurrection of Oberti olive plant

Adin Hester gave a short history of the new co-op which has bought the 220 acre Oberti olive plant from bankruptcy court. In the past few years the existing canneries in California have dropped contracts with smaller olive growers. These growers had asked for assistance through the California Olive Council. Negotiations were started with several potential properties but ended up centering on the Oberti plant. Difficulties centered around pollution abatement and liability issues. Over the years brine from evaporation ponds at the plant has seeped into the aquifer. Eventually the property price went from $8 million to $1 with assumption of all liabilities. Final approval was obtained from the Oberti board, the bankruptcy court, the Justice Dept., California Water Quality Board and California and Federal EPA. The co-op has 25 years to correct the pollution. The co-op has assumed the Oberti name and hopes to produce specialty olives and olive oil. The plant has two Pieralisi presses for oil production. Production this year was only several hundred tons of olives each for canning and oil due to the late start in the season.

Olive Moth

Yes, there is another olive pest to start worrying about. The olive moth (Prays Oleae) is the second most troublesome pest for olives in the Mediterranean. In a single year three generations of the moth typically plague the orchard. The adults emerge from pupae on the leaves or in cracks in the bark in April. The female lays eggs on flower buds which the first generation larvae attack. The insect pupates and hatches into a moth that lays eggs on the emerging fruitlets. The 2nd-generation larvae grow inside the olive stone kernels, then eventually pupate. The resulting adults lay eggs on leaves. The 3rd-generation larvae are leaf miners that use silk to roll the leaf into a protective shape. The leaf larvae can live for months during the fall and winter months, with the pupae over wintering on the leaf or bark. The more troublesome stage is the olive fruit grub which can cause massive fruit drop.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (C.D.F.A.) has started trapping in southern California and the international services of the USDA is trapping in California to signal spread from Mexico. Hopefully the pest can be stopped at the border, an intervention which was not successful with the olive fly. Customs officials have intercepted 80 olive moths at major ports including a moth found at a Los Angeles entry port. The moth is controlled with pesticides in Europe which are currently available in the U.S. Parasites are available for the moth and mating disruption studies are pending.  See the Olive Oil Source olive moth information page.

Sonoma Olive Festival Pictures

Barbara - owner of Oils of Paicines


March 2002 COOC Members Meeting

Roberta Zecca opened the meeting with thanks to the Dominican sisters for hosting the event this second year.  Membership has grown from 332 to 345 with an increase in supporting membership from 63 to 97. Thirty one oils were awarded the COOC seal last year and he predicted that 40 would be given eventually for the 2001-2002 season.

The Los Angeles county fair organizers have once again requested the assistance of the COOC panel of expert tasters.  58 oils were entered last year, the first year that the competition was opened to all oils made in the Americas.  This year the fair organizers wish to accept entries from oil makers worldwide.  Persons with contacts with international companies were encouraged to spread the word. 

Board member Albert Katz presented the Treasurer's message for Karen Guth who could not be present.  Last year the organization was within budget.  This year $2500 has been set aside for olive fly research/education/abatement. 

Nancy Ash reviewed the activities of the promotional committee.  Three press releases went out last year publicizing the position of the COOC on the FDA Marketing order, promoting the new brochure and touting the recognition of the tasting panel as one of 41 official IOOC panels.  There will be a release about the olive fly.  Thanks were given for the effort of those responsible for the brochure.  New activities being considered include a media event during the harvest/pressing season, attendance at the winter fancy food show, a tasting seminar at trade shows for retailers, and a recipe collection or contest.  The marketing committee has a $10k budget this year for promotion.

Ridgley Evers reported that with regret and annoyance, the COOC has had to address another attempt by the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) to institute a marketing order which would enforce a "tax" on all olive oil sales to be used for promotion of olive oil.  There are several reasons why the COOC opposes this marketing order.  First, the "task force" has operated in bad faith.  The order violates the spirit of the law that was instituted to promote U.S. agricultural products.  99% of olive oil sold and consumed in the U.S. comes from imports.  Increasing consumption of foreign made olive oil would be at the expense of domestic seed oils such as corn, canola and safflower.  Certainly this does not benefit U.S. farmers. The NAOOA did not actively solicit domestic grower input and has misrepresented the position of the COOC.

Second, Importers would have control and provisions of the order do not in any way encourage further development of the domestic industry. 

Third, the order exacerbates consumer confusion. The NAOOA has discouraged attempts to institute IOOC sponsored labeling laws in the U.S., although they exist in virtually every other country. U.S. olive oil producers typically produce a premium extra virgin product so the COOC supports making “extra virgin” an enforceable classification. The marketing order would give power and money to a group that has in the past opposed accurately informing the consumer.

The NAOOA is free to advertise without a marketing order but according to Ridgley some major foreign olive oil producers, such as Colavita, do not want to participate in a NAOOA sponsored advertising program.  Under the marketing order, Colavita would be forced to participate.

Bill Wolf of Alpha Wolf olive oil, Adin Hester, and Nick Sciabica gave a report on the olive fly.  See related article.  They encouraged farmers to contact their county agricultural commissioners and to become active on their local farm bureaus. Olive fly information printed from The Olive Oil Source website was available for members.

The floor was opened to public comment. There was a heated 20-minute discussion on mislabeling, which many felt was rampant. This includes pure oil being called extra virgin, foreign oil being labeled as domestic and regional appellations, such as Napa valley, which were inaccurate. The board felt that supporting the COOC would solve many of these problems.  The meeting was adjourned after another thanks to the Dominican Sisters for hosting the meeting and a gift presentation.


We have favorable weather, land, seed source & expertise for cultivation of wild olive in Pakistan and we are looking for investors/partners for more development and promotion of olive trees for Pakistan
 Fazal Rahim
· E mail:

For Sale

1955 cub loboy for sale. good runner w/ new woods mower, new 3pt. hitch, 1-row cultivator, grader blade, etc. more info


Olive Fly Update - 3/3/02

The following update has been compiled from a presentation by Jan Nelson of the California Olive Council (C.O.C) at the CLFP show, a presentation at the COOC annual member meeting by Bill Wolf, Adin Hester and Nick Sciabica, and other sources. The fly is currently in all but 17 California counties. Many counties have or are considering passing olive fly abatement districts to control the fly on non-orchard properties.

The fly is currently a Class A pest, meaning that it is not statewide and there is potential for full extermination. By law the local Agricultural commissioner must respond to the pest with quarantine, eradication efforts, etc. It implies aggressive encouragement in finding appropriate control measures. Class B pests are given state assistance at the discretion of the commissioner. Class C pests are considered hopeless, the commissioner is actually encouraged not to spend time and money on such a lost cause. It is up to industry to control the pest. The state is aggressively trying to get the fly downgraded to Class C. Bill Wolf outlined the effort to negotiate a Class B rating.

Spinosa has demonstrated mixed success in controlling the fly. Table olive growers in Tulare sprayed Spinosa every two weeks starting in June 2001 and continuing in some cases up to the day before picking with excellent control of the pest. Cannery representatives reported that they saw little fly damage at inspection stations.

At the March 2002 COOC meeting Nick Sciabica related his battle with the fly on the grounds of the Dominican Sisters retirement home in Fremont. The permit application process delayed the first application until July 11th. One week after the spraying 67 flies were trapped. The spray was reapplied every 7 to 14 days according to the label and traps were examined regularly. Fly counts for subsequent weeks were 23, 18, 39, 66, and 49. Olives adjacent to the traps were sent to the Kern county agricultural extension office where tests showed 87% infestation. The olives could not be used for oil making. There have been reports of up to 50% infestation with no flies detected in traps on the same tree.

Spinosa is a bait product that is sprayed on one branch of every other tree or every other row at a cost of about $5 per acre. Nick surmises that the generic fruit fly bait of molasses with .02% active ingredients is not attractive enough to the olive fly. He also feels that the spraying was not started early enough. Farmers are encouraged to set out traps immediately and spray at the first sign of flies. It is hoped Spinosa will be changed from a schedule 18 to schedule 3 use. There has been some concern with the time it is taking to get this change, as once there is a product approved for emergency use, it discourages efforts to find other agents which may be more effective.

While Spinosa is approved for organic certification in the EU; organic certification in the U.S. is doubtful. Sticky traps are considered organic and may be able to control light infestations.

AgriSense traps are still mired in the approval process at the EPA. Fall availability is possible. AgriSense is a card treated with pheromone attractant and a toxin. It is considered more environmentally friendly as it is not applied directly to the fruit or tree.

Other insecticides such as Sevin are being tested, as they are approved sprays and could readily be used on the ground around trees, trunks, etc. It seems that California is not a large enough market for pesticide producers to bother with the expensive and lengthy approval process.

An olive fly breeding colony is being established at U.C. Riverside and the USDA is conducting biological studies. Dr. Robert Van Steenwyck, cooperative extension entomologist at U.C. Berkeley is starting olive fly investigations. According to the Jan, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has done little to stop the fly. They are currently looking for parasites. A potential parasite was released last year but was never found again. There are reports that a USDA scientist is currently in Africa looking for parasites to the fly.

Farmers hoped that freezing temperatures in many parts of California would slow the fly, Unfortunately; Dick Rice of U.C. Kearney trapped viable flies after 2 weeks of sub freezing temperatures in one grove near him.

Mechanical harvesting, mentioned above, could exacerbate the pest as fruit is left on the ground and tree, providing an over wintering population of the fly. The California Olive Council (C.O.C) is providing funding for monitoring studies in Northern California; Glenn, Tehama, and Butte counties. It has also set aside $250K for a contingency fund for 2002 to deal with the fly. C.O.C. representatives made a plea to the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) for funding also. The COOC has set aside $2500 this year for the fly.

Growers in the Mediterranean have noted that trees along dusty roads have fewer infested olives. Particle film technology has become commercially available under the name, Surround WP. This material is a clay(kaolin) based oil that prevents oviposition and insect feeding on apples, walnuts and grapes. Growers are encouraged to test such products on olives. See the Olive Oil Source olive fly information pages


Quicker dinners with fewer dishes and guests

NPD Group Inc found that 80% of all suppers in America are consumed at home in a recent study. The number of dishes served declined, as did the time fixing the meal. Fewer guests are being invited to share a meal.

Stutz Olive Oil Brand Sold

Ken Stutz has bought the brand back from Calio Groves.

Health views of 50 plus age group

The 50 plus age group has some unanimous notions about their health according to the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association. 94% believe that there is a link between diet and health. 84% have increased their intake of fruits and vegetables and 79% have cut back on high fat foods. Only 8 percent frequently buy organic foods.

Alexander Tereshchenko to leave Duarte

Dr. Alexander Tereschenko, after 6 years with Duarte Nursery will be going into private consulting for olive propagation, cultivation and planting. contact at

Comments from the Internet

A reader asks:  Is the olive a fruit or a vegetable?

OOS Replies:  Olives are the fruit of the olive tree as it contains the seed.

Elizabeth asks  I have recently been informed that when olive oil is heated it creates a saturated fat as opposed to unsaturated when used directly from the bottle. It has been recommended that one cook with Canola Oil and use Olive Oil directly from the bottle for its flavor.

OOS Replies:  Myth. Heating olive oil will evaporate the alcohols and esters which make up the delicate taste and fragrance of olive oil. Heating olive oil will not change its health aspects appreciably . All oils will oxidize if repeatedly heated to high temperatures. Olive Oil seems to be more resistant to this. Heating olive oil will not change it from a monosaturated fat which is considered far healthier than the polyunsaturated fats in margarine or the cholesterol in butter. Use a cheaper, less flavorful pure oil for frying and a more flavorful extra virgin olive oil on salads and as a condiment at the table.

Patitsas asks:  What type of olives will grow best in the Dallas TX area?  My grove has to be able to resist the occasional killer frost.

OOS replies:  Leccino, Coratina, Arbequina, Pendolino, Ascolano, Sevillano, Barouni and of course mission, are considered cold tolerant.

Malcolm asks: On your web site there is mention of a study performed on glass bottles of olive oil that are subjected to light once exposed on shelves. The section is under "food (olive oil essentials)
Appreciate any help you may be able to supply

OOS replies: Here are several references on this subject. Kiritsakis and Dugan (1984) Effect of selected storage conditions and packaging materials on olive oil quality. J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 61:1868
Gutierrez Gonzalez-Quijano (1975) in Olive Oil Technology FAO, Rome pp70-76



--------  2002  --------


Natural Products Expo West 2002 A Natural Blending of Business March 7 - 10, 2002 Anaheim Convention Center Anaheim, California USA

OLIVE EXPO 2002. March 9, 2002 Third California Seminar on olive tree farming and olive oil making. Several world renowned experts, including Professor GIUSEPPE FONTANAZZA, will discuss: Planting, growing, pruning. Mechanical picking. Pest & olive fly control. Costs & production of groves. Olive crushing & oil extraction. New cultivars in the U.S. Marriott Hotel in Napa, CA $185.00 per person. Includes continental breakfast, refreshments and a catered wine country luncheon. For more info call (707) 963-9266 or Email:

Olive Tree Festival 23rd and 24th of March 2002
* produces of olive tree ( oil . bread with olives , Mediterranean food , etc..)
* Handcraft around wood of olive trees
* Restauration of the landcapes .Rehabilitation of olives trees fields


International Organic Olive Conference, April 2002, Spain for more info: Mr. Ranko Tadic (email:; Tel: +385-51-331184; Fax: +385-51-212074

The Prince Albert Olive Festival - Olyffees South Africa April 2002  tel/fax: +27 23 5411 366 e-mail: Olive pip spitting, tossing cow pats, tug-o'-war and more .

S.I.O. (Salon Internacional Oleicola) International Olive Oil Growing Show April 24 - 26, 2002, Reus Spain

Olive Oil –Syria 2002”, from 25th to 28th April 2002 in Aleppo Representatives of companies from all over the world are invited to attend a three-days event designed to bring them together with potential partners from the host region. The event will include also a tasting contest, seminars on the importance of olive oil and fields’ visits to the main Syrian olive oil orchards. Tel: 00963-21-2267206 fax: 00963-21-2267207 e-mail:


American Oil Chemists Society AOCS annual meeting May 5-8, 2002 Montreal, Quebec contact: AOCS Meetings & Exhibits Department, P.O. Box 3489, Champaign, IL 61826-3489 USA. Phone: 1-217-359-2344 * Fax: 1-217-351-8091 Email

Organic Trade Association's 2002 All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show. May 9 - 11, 2002 Educational Forum, OTA Annual Meeting, and Trade Show. Additional specialized workshops and OTA member meetings will be slated for May 7-8. All events in Austin, TX.  e-mail:

Olive Business 2002 in Melbourne May 23rd to 26th. 


JIHO - Les Olivades de Paris Journées Internationales de l'huile d'olive à Bercy Village du 31 mai au 3 juin 2002

A workshop on "Environmental Problems in Olive Oil Production and Solutions"  07 June to 09 June 2002 by Bal}kesir State University in Bal}kesir City, Turkey. Phone # : 90 - 266 - 612 1194 or 95 (dial extension 132) e-mail:


Betty Pustarfi presents  olive oil and aceto balsamico at the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) 2002 Educational Conference, July 14-17, 2002, Charleston Place Hotel, Charleston, SC.


IFOAM 2002 The 14th Organic World Congress in Canada 15-27 August 2002  Victoria BC, Canada contact: IFOAM 2002, Building 20, 8801 East Saanich Road, Sidney BC, V8L 1H3, Canada email:


Olitech Olive cultivation and processing technology November 2-4, Parma, Italy

2002 California Farm Conference November 2002

EIMA  International Machinery Manufacturers Exhibitions - November 16-19, 2002 Bologna

Other Event Calendars:

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