By 2005, Felipe Ternero had turned the operation around and had managed to put enough money away to acquire the 350-acre property from his father. The couple sold about 100 acres a few years ago to diversify their real estate holdings. They still do much of the planting and pruning themselves, and they handle most repairs in their drip irrigation system.
They try to keep a tight rein on costs, they said, but there are always challenges: Nighttime prowlers have broken in and made off with either farm equipment or their olives. This year, their table olives will be ready to harvest in August, three weeks ahead of schedule, but the contract laborers they usually hire may still be working to bring in other crops.
“I hope I can continue charging $7.50 a bottle,” Lisa Ternero said. “When you buy an olive oil from me one day and it’s $30, you’ll know something happened.”