Well, our plans to return to olive oil production during the Fall of 2021 proved too optimistic. During 2020, COVID-19 concerns prevented us from harvesting and going to market. In 2021, the spring drought conditions interfered with olive blossom formation and subsequently limited our harvest yield to a pittance for 2021.
Unfortunately, Moonrise Grove Organic Olive Oil will be absent from the market for another year.
We erroneously believed our century-old Mission olive trees could weather drought. For tree survival, this is a valid assumption. However, we’ve learned that even large and well-rooted olive trees need adequate water during the sensitive mid-spring blossom development process. In 2020 we invested in a mechanical lift and cold storage capacity to improve olive production. In hindsight, a clear case of getting the carriage before the horse. Now we’re investing in the horse, in-ground irrigation. As you see in the photo, we are trenching and installing a system that will deliver water directly to the root area of each of the 140 olive trees. We can keep the trees hydrated during drought, especially when blossoms are developing.
We’ve also learned another hard lesson, not to make rosy predictions about next year’s olive oil production. Let’s only say that we are doing our best to get back to the market as soon as possible and better than ever!