October 01, 2023

Fresh Raw Olives from our Town to Your Table

One of thousands remaining "Century" Sevillano trees in Corning, CA

Corning is called Olive City for a reason. The first table olives were planted here in 1897 and, according to local historian Paulyne White, Corning boasted 9 different olive processing plants by the mid 20th century. Growers and processors focused on a large variety called Sevillano and a medium sized variety called Manzanillo. It was the Sevillano that caught people's attention for its exceptionally large size and firm flesh, which they marketed under the name "Queen Olive". It may be news to those who love Lucero Ascolano EVOO, however, that variety of olive was originally planted here for table olives, too!

Today, there is only one cannery left in Corning, the 2nd largest ripe olive processing plant in the world and home to the Lindsay Olive brand. Table olive growers focus on contracts with the local cannery to make their living, however, such contracts are no longer possible for smaller family farms of 5 or 10 acres, and that's where we come in. We're conducting a limited test to see if we can support some of the remaining growers to ensure that the legacy of stately old olive orchards can live on for the next generations. 

Despite the suitability of olive trees for our climate and status as drought-prone, farmers can make much more farming almonds and walnuts. We've already lost about half the table olive acreage from the peak production years. Today, almond acreage is more than 2x the total for all table olive orchards AND oil olive orchards combined; walnut acreage is more than 4x that, and growing. 

I'm encouraged by the reception we've received from home cure olive enthusiasts so far, and hope we can make our offer of fresh raw olives from our town an annual event. We'll keep our fresh olive offers live on the Fresh Raw Green Olives page all year long, so even if you don't order today you can be notified when the next crop becomes available.

A farm worker balances on a tall and wide orchard ladder while wearing a picking bucket and collecting olives