Kanwarjit Boparai has planted two acres of olive trees (right) in the agricultural area of Lemoore, CA.
Trained as a small-animal veterinarian, Dr. Boparai believes agriculture is "in my blood."
Dr. Boparai walks through his olive grove about three months after its second harvest. Trees that were not picked are tagged with blue flags.
Once olives hit the ground, they cannot be used to make olive oil.
Olives are harvested at different stages of ripeness and then blended into olive oil.
The 168 olive trees were planted by hand in 2012, and some of the original small stakes remain in the orchard.
Ripe olives still hang on the trees months after harvest.
Securing labor to pick the olives is expensive, says Kanwarjit Boparai, but his orchard is too small for mechanical picking. During the last harvest, his crew stopped before picking all the trees.
Kanwarjit Boparai bought an old tractor from a neighbor, and he uses it to knock down weeds.
Boparai Farms produces about 500 bottles a year of Frantoio 8/9 olive oil. It is sold on the farm’s website, but securing retail distribution has been a challenge. (Photos by Joan Cusick)
All content created by Joan Cusick in cooperation with Californians for Pesticide Reform, the Community Alliance for Agroecology, and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers.
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