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Local olive oil producers have worst harvest in decades

Local olive oil producers are having their worst harvest in decades. Fluctuating climate changes are gravely affecting olive oil production. Last years unusual hot winter followed by a cold spring cut harvests to almost half of what they should be.

Theodora Stephan, owner of Global Gardens in Los Olivos, said this year’s weather is even worse.

“There were many olive groves in the area that didn’t get one olive,” said Stephan.

After Stephan’s olive trees blossomed in late January, they froze in March, killing most of her harvest.

Stephan notes she has seen prices spike in olive oil everywhere but as a small local farmer she can’t raise her prices due to customer expectations.

“We are going to have a loss this year relative to our numbers. Our yield was down,” said Stephan.

Stephan said weather conditions have gotten so unfavorable for olive production some larger producers have gone to Italy to harvest.

The California Olive Oil Council said this year’s harvest and productions are the worst they have seen in twenty years.

“There has been a situation of climate change really exacerbating the situation. So it’s a concern,” said Stephan.

One solution the community can do during this crisis is to go out and support local growers. And if the price is a little higher then usual, well blame it on the weather.

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