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“A changing climate is turning olive oil into an increasingly risky business — at least in the Mediterranean, the land of its birth,” writes the New York Times this morning, pointing to a series of problems that have hurt olive production in three out of the last five years, with this year projected to be “mixed.”

Here’s how the Times frames the situation:

“The heat wave that swept across southern Europe this summer, which scientists say bore the fingerprints of human-induced climate change, is only the latest bout of strange weather to befall the makers of olive oil.

“Some years, like this one, the heat comes early and stays. Other years, it rains so much — as it did in 2014 — that the olive fly breeds like crazy, leaving worms inside the olives. Or there’s an untimely frost when the fruits first form … Or, an early hot spell is followed by a week of fog and rain … leaving the trees confused, as he put it, about when to bear fruit.”

And what all this does is create an olive oil industry that increasingly is unsettled, challenging traditional suppliers and creating expanded opportunities for suppliers from other regions.
KC's View:
The olive oil business has been through a lot of tumult in recent years, especially as questions have been raised about accuracy in labeling. This stuff won’t help, but to me these kinds of structural shifts - clearly happening because of climate change - may create opportunities for quality-oriented producers not just to make their products available to consumers, but to make information about them accessible to people who want to be reassured. The weather may be foggy or steamy, but marketing and informational efforts should be clear and cool and crisp and comprehensive.