Although growers of some other crops in Califonria may be cutting back acreage, olive acreage continues to grow.

Spurring the 25 percent to 30 percent growth in acreage are the healthful benefits associated with olive oil, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Last year, growers produced about 675,000 gallons of olive oil, up from about 383,000 gallons in 2004.

In 2008, California had 21,000 acres of olives compared with about 26,000 acres for table olives, according to the Berkeley-based California Olive Oil Council.

Based on nursery contracts, the council projects an increase of about 10,000 acres going in for oil each year through 2020.

The recession doesn't seem to have hurt consumption, either, growers say.

"Even I, struggling as an artisan grower, am still finding that the market is growing for us," says Jon Fadhl, a Solano County olive oil producer who runs Jovia Groves Olive Oil with his wife Sylvia. 

To subscribe to the print version of The Grower, click here