It has been a while since out short post about the international olive oil trade network where we pointed out the key role the US was building in the olive oil industry although its small national production, revealed by the brokerage index among a circle of "customer" Countries (read our post from 2010 "How is the international trade network of olive oil changing?").
The US is seen as a target market for olive oil especially from the largest producing Countries, one above all Italy. But things may not be likely to stand for ever. Investments in research (see the UC Davis Olive Oil Center and the Robert Mondavi Institute), media (see the oliveoitimes.com exploit on the web), new international competition and schools, the growing attention from the culture (do you remember when the New Yorker published Thomas Mueller article? - read our post "Reputation does it matter?") and the Governmental and political moves, are all signals - we believe - of a willingness to play an active role in this market.
Australia's largest olive oil producer, Boundary Bend Ltd., is setting up a $20 million olive press in Woodland (California, US) to process 20 tons of olives per hour into extra virgin olive oil.
So, if on one side the US industry is seeming to gain in its brokerage ability, say buying from abroad, blend, and sell again abroad, someone else points to cut with intermediaries and produce directly on the US soil.
The new Boundary Bend's press, which will begin work with this year's crop, is in fact part of the company's move to set up its U.S. headquarters in Woodland. The facility also will have a bottling operation, laboratory and offices. The 10-acre site uses some existing buildings, and the company is building more structures at 455 Harter Ave., a site that used to be a John Deere dealership.
The company says its manufacturing operation could eventually scale up to press 50 tons per hour. As a measure of scale, the Seka Hills Tasting Room olive mill in the Capay Valley is a 2.5 ton-per-hour press.
Boundary Bend is looking to buy orchards and also to get contracts from growers to supply it with fruit, said Adam Englehardt, head of the company's local subsidiary. Englehardt had previously been the main farmer with California Olive Ranch.
"The U.S. market is growing at a rapid rate, and the U.S. consumer is transitioning to higher quality product," Englehardt said.
The Woodland operation will be highly automated, and it will have about 20 full time employees, who will be skilled technicians to work the complicated machinery.
Boundary Bend's olive oils have been winning international competitions for quality, said Dan Flynn, executive director of the University of California Davis Olive Center.
"They are a leader in pushing quality and efficiency," Flynn said. "Basically, olive oil is a fresh fruit juice, so being able to process it quickly and then get it to market quickly greatly improves the quality."
Boundary Bend, founded in 1998, owns 2.2 million trees, mostly in the Australian state of Victoria. The company's Australian production is currently larger than all production in California combined, Englehardt said.
The company owns two Australian olive-oil brands, Cobram Estate and Red Island. It will be launching a brand of California premium oil, which will be targeted at the American market [perhaps; but we can find Californian olive oil also on the Brazilan top retailers' shelves (IOBOOO's note)]. The company also plans to start importing significant quantities of extra virgin oil into the U.S. market from its Australian operations. Its Australian operations can press 160 tons per hour. [apropos of brokerage (IOBOOO's note)]
The California olive oil harvest has been growing quickly, and olive oil production likely will continue to grow because olive trees can thrive on marginal soil and with about half the water of most other orchard crops, Flynn said. The California olive oil harvest was 6,000 acres in 2004 and it grew to 30,000 acres in 2014. Anecdotally, if you drive around California, you will notice a lot of new plantings of olive orchards, he said.
(source of this new)
Hope this is of some interest for you! Bests.