The same qualities of climate, geography and geology that make northern California great for wine production makes it a great olive growing environment. There is a growing northern California olive oil industry that pays testament to that fact.
There are many urban olive trees in yards, parks and lining streets all around the San Francisco Bay Area who's fruit goes to waste. Processing small quantities of olives for eating can be a lot of work and pressing olives for oil takes large cumbersome and expensive equipment.
In the traditional olive growing regions of the world there is also a tradition of the 'community press,' a place that locals can bring their small quantity of olives and get them pressed into oil for either a small charge or a percentage of the oil. We want to duplicate this tradition for the San Francisco Bay Area with our Community Press.
A modern olive oil press and cleaner costs about $25,000. I have the opportunity to buy these machines at a fraction of the price for this project. For a tenth of that cost I will be able to purchase the cleaner, the press, the assorted tools and sundry items needed to make this a real community resource. With this funding we will even be able to start our community outreach and education program so people know how to make optimal use of this resource.
I have run the numbers and by taking a percentage of the oil pressed or charging for the press time the press will be able to pay for running itself, maintaining itself over time and even generate enough additional income to add additional resources over time. There are a LOT of walnuts that go to waste in the area every year and walnut oil is very healthy and useful.
Average olive tree produces 50lb - 200lb of fruit (you know your trees)
Press is rated at 30lbs per hour. I expect to run it at 15lb-20lb /hour.
Average olives (not picked too green) will produce about 1liter of oil per 10 lbs of fruit.
Press time is either $30 an hour or 50% of the oil produced.
SO... if you have 1 tree and purchased 4 hours of press time, that would be $120 and you would end up with about 7 liters of oil. That's $17 per liter of oil.
All of these numbers are based on internet research not personal experience. I have tried to be conservative with my estimates.
If anyone wants more details let me know and I'll send you my 2 pages of notes that lead me to believe that this can be a viable project.
Trying to keep it local, green and sustainable.
Thanks for any help.
NOTE: Rewards will be sent out as the oil becomes available from the press. I HOPE I can get all of the rewards out from the first season but that will depend on the uptake of the resource.
- (44 days)