Jul 252011

Recently the Discovery Channel’s program Powering the Future featured segments on the Musco Family Olive Company‘s environmental initiatives. Here is the link to the video segments on the Musco website.

The videos are very interesting. The Discovery Channel series looks really good too.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Jul 242011

After reading the press release from the Musco Family Olive Company about their award for environmental initiatives, I wanted to look into more about what those initiatives are. Here are some of the Musco environmental initiatives as described on their website.

Water Recycling

Musco recycles more than 90% of all its water in an innovative onsite recycling project, reusing the water for irrigation on its 180-acre farm. From 2002 to 2011, Musco has recycled almost 1.5 billion gallons onsite in our innovative closed loop system.

Mother Nature takes care of the remainder of the water (less than 10%) and evaporates it in double-lined evaporation ponds. 100% of Musco’s water is kept onsite and none is discharged into a river or the ocean.

NyPa Forage

NyPa is a unique, patented forage crop that is the result of more than 5 years of intense crop selection research.

Soil salinity is a major problem in the San Joaquin Valley, especially the west side where soils are naturally alkaline. The typical “solution” to growing a crop in these conditions is to plant salt–tolerant crops. NyPa forage takes this one step further.

Whereas salt-tolerant crops can live in these conditions, they do not remedy the salt situation. NyPa forage actively removes salt from the soil. The crop is harvested one or two times per year and sold as cattle feed, and salt is permanently removed from Musco’s closed loop system. Musco is proud to be the first food processor in the United States to utilize NyPa forage to address long–term issues like soil salinity.


Musco’s most recent initiative is our Renewable Energy and Wastewater System, or RenEWS. RenEWS is the only system like it in the world, where we take two previous “waste” streams and generate renewable energy while treating wastewater. We take our olive pits, which used to be “waste”, and we now burn them in our special RenEWS system. Around 15 tons of olive pits are burned each day, generating a substantial amount of heat energy. This heat is used to evaporate process water, and the steam generated during the evaporation process is used to drive the largest production steam engine in the United States. The one of a kind Eco-Pod further concentrates and evaporates leftover water from our processing boilers, resulting in a greatly reduced volume of wastewater. Significant investment in state-of-the-art emissions controls means this is the cleanest burning biomass plant in California.

Invented and built onsite, Musco is proud of the RenEWS system, and it underscores our commitment to stewardship and preserving our planet so generations to come can enjoy its natural beauty.

Diversion from Landfill and Beneficial Reuse

The cornerstone of Musco’s stewardship program is weekly management meetings where water, electricity, natural gas use, and waste are tracked and discussed. These meetings are central to the company culture and allow rapid response to out-of-the-ordinary situations. Diversion from landfill was the first of the “low-hanging fruit” that we tackled, and tackle it we did! We are very proud that we divert 98.5% of our waste from landfill, either through beneficial reuse on site or via off-site institutional recycling.”

May the sun shine through your branches.


Jul 232011

TRACY, Calif. – Family-owned, Musco Family Olive Company, the nation’s leading supplier of table olives, today was honored as a “California 2011 Leader in Innovation in Energy and Agriculture” by Grow-California for its cutting-edge approach to business which has a positive impact on California’s agricultural industry and economy. Musco received the “Game Changer of the Year” Award in the category of Innovation in Energy and Agriculture and earned the recognition specifically for its most recent initiative – the Renewable Energy and Wastewater System (RenEWS).

According to Felix Musco, CEO of Musco Family Olive Co., more than 15 tons of olive pits, previously considered waste, are converted to carbon-neutral heat energy each day through RenEWS. They system was invented by environmental specialist, Frank Schubert of Combined Solar Technologies, a leader in renewable energy/water reclamation. The energy from the pits is used to evaporate wastewater and to drive the largest industrial steam engine in the United States, at Musco’s Tracy, California headquarters. More than half of the facility’s electrical needs will be supplied by the system.

“Receiving the ‘Game Changer of the Year’ Award underscores Musco’s commitment to environmental stewardship and to providing for future generations,” said Musco, representing the third generation of the Musco family legacy. “Our goal is a 100 percent renewable practice, where every olive processed within the facility is also helping our planet.”

Musco’s environmental stewardship extends to multiple innovations, including recycling more than 90 percent of all its water through a closed-loop system and extensive diversion from landfills, either through beneficial reuse on-site or via off-site institutional recycling. Musco is the first food processor in the United States to utilize NyPa crop forage to address soil salinity. The company is also dedicated to innovative transport and packaging processes.

“Musco Family Olive Co. is a true game changer in its innovative approach,” said Jon Gregory, president and CEO of Grow California. “RenEWS caught the interest of numerous investors, bankers and economic development organizations who consulted with us to identify California agricultural companies with an impressive focus on innovation.”

“We are proud of our hard-earned legacy as being the leading olive producer in the nation, but we are even more proud of our dedication and investment to doing business in a way that is healthy for our environment and community,” said Musco. “It doesn’t matter the size of your business. We are proof that innovative environmental solutions are attainable.”

The award was presented by California Secretary of Agriculture, Karen Ross, and USDA Rural Development State Director, Dr. Glenda Humiston, at a special ceremony today during the inaugural California Agriculture Innovation conference on the campus of U.C. Davis. Winners were selected because of their focus on innovation and contributions to California’s economic growth. A total of 12 companies were recognized including Blue Diamond Growers, Lundberg Family Farms, and Paramount Farms. For more information about the California Agriculture Innovation conference and the “Game Changer of the Year” awards, visit: http://www.grow-california.com.
About Musco Family Olive Co.

The Musco Family Olive Co. is a privately-held, family business based in Tracy, California, with facilities across the state. Rooted in expertise from the olive groves of Italy and built over many generations of active family involvement, the Musco Family Olive Co. is the leading supplier of table olives in America. Together the PEARLS and EARLY CALIFORNIA brands combined command over 55 percent of the total national branded market share. One of two primary olive canners in America, Musco takes in nearly half of the 29,000 acre California olive crop, contracting with more than 250 growers, 300 employees, and countless vendors and business partners to make up the Musco family tree.