Despite California's drought and virtually no production in Texas, olive oil production in the U.S. rebounded substantially from the previous year. However, producers recognize that California’s increasingly hot and dry weather will pose more problems for irrigated groves moving forward. Away from production, consumption, exports and imports also all increased.2021/2022 United States harvest report
After a disappointing harvest in 2020, olive oil production in the United States is expected to rebound to 13,700 tons in the 2021/22 crop year. According to the Olive Oil Commission of California, this is a sizeable improvement from the 11,500 tons produced in 202/21, but well below the 16,600 tons produced in 2019/20. California is responsible for virtually all U.S. olive oil production. Many producers in the Golden State reported entering an ‘on-year’ in the natural alternate bearing cycle of the olive tree, which was partially responsible for the uptick. However, the full potential of the harvest was limited by climatic factors in some parts of California. While wildfires once again had little impact on the crop, hot and dry weather in the spring damaged some olive trees during the blossoming period. High winds in other parts of the state also knocked some olives off the trees before the harvest. California’s ongoing drought, which is at its most severe point since 2016, has also impacted some producers dependent on irrigation to water their trees at the right moments of olive drupe development. Away from California, Texas is traditionally the second-largest olive oil producer in the U.S. Unfortunately, this year’s harvest was decimated by a frigid February, which damaged almost all of the state’s trees and prevented them from blossoming. Along with production, olive oil consumption also increased, rising to 401,000 tons, the second-highest total on record. The popularity of olive oil and the Mediterranean diet continues to grow in the U.S. as consumers continue to opt for healthier options for their kitchens. The increase in consumption also comes dispute rising olive oil prices, which were fueled by global supply chain issues, tariffs on bottles Spanish olive oil imports (until their removal last summer) and increased shipping costs. Along with consumption, olive oil exports increased to 9,000 tons, their highest level since 2005/06. Meanwhile, olive oil imports reached a record-high 401,00 tons to meet the rising demand levels. As a result, many producing countries in South America and the Mediterranean basin have cited the U.S. as a target market.