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Faster, Cheaper—and Fresher Oil

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2009

What is "super-high-density planting"?

To increase production, drive down costs—and make fresher oil—some California olive growers are implementing a revolutionary new way of growing and harvesting olives known as “super-high-density planting.” This approach, which relies on irrigation, was pioneered by Spanish growers in the mid-1990s and allows for up to 10 times as many trees to be planted per acre than in traditional groves (in the past, the number was limited to what groves in dry Mediterranean climates could sustain without irrigation). Equally important: It allows for machine harvesting—a faster, cheaper way of getting olives to the press. Machines can harvest an entire crop in a matter of hours, not days that hand harvesting takes, for supremely fresh-tasting oil. Thanks to super-high-density planting and machine harvesting, the olives of our winning brand, California Olive Press, can be sent to the press in as little as 90 minutes.