Musco Family Olive Company is offering new olive contracts to help growers that are struggling with their next course of action after a recent cancellation of numerous contracts by Bell-Carter Foods. Last year the Spanish cooperative Dcoop acquired a 20 percent interest in one of the largest California processors Bell-Carter Foods which in raw unprocessed olives being imported tariff-free and displacing California olives.
“We want every farmer impacted by this decision to know that Musco Family Olive Company is committed to the California ripe olive industry. Our gates are open to purchase this year’s crop to meet our increased supply needs from any grower who commits to our modern growing and harvesting goals,” Musco Family Olive Company Chief Executive Officer Felix Musco said in a press release. “Additionally, while preference will be given to those growers who commit to planting mechanically harvestable acreage, we will also offer a one-year contract to as many acres as we can to provide everyone with more time to consider this opportunity.”
Prior to Dcoop’s purchase of its stake in Bell-Carter Foods last year, the California processor had filed complaints against Dcoop with the U.S. International Trade Commission claiming Spanish olive imports were hurting local growers. Last week, however, Bel-Carter canceled contracts on upwards of 4,500 acres of California olives. “This termination is effective immediately and we will not receive your harvest in 2019,” Bell-Carter wrote in a letter to growers. “With the continually increasing costs of table olives in California, we have not been able to compete with our foreign competition and have made the decision to reduce our contracted acreage in California.”
Musco Family Olive Company, the largest packer of ripe olives in the world, is offering new olive contracts in the interest of keeping the state’s industry strong. Musco believes that the U.S. foodservice market should be the center of focus for moving the industry forward. “Regaining the lost sales in foodservice is a huge opportunity for the domestic ripe olive industry and could provide a home for 10,000 acres of new plantings in California,” Musco noted. “We look forward to investing in our future so the California ripe olive industry will thrive and grow for generations to come.”