In 1912, brothers Arthur and Henry Bell followed their dream and bought a small olive grove in the laid back farming community of Reedley, California. For the 18 years that followed, their sole focus was harvesting and selling olives to olive processors throughout central California. At the start of the Depression in 1930, they expanded into canning, distributing and marketing their own olives under the "Bell" brand name. Soon after, the imaginative Arthur would introduce the first of his many inventions—the “pitter-chopper.” This device removed pits and chopped olives at the same time, and was responsible for Bell’s new chopped olives—an industry first. In fact, these olives were considered a delicacy and featured as the "Islands" in Thousand Island salad dressing.
By 1938, after 26 years of long days and hard work, the two brothers and a team of 12 determined employees had effectively laid the roots for a great family business. Together, they selectively packed over 7,000 cases of olives a year. At that time, Arthur’s stepson Daniel S. Carter came on board to oversee the processing and canning operations. This gave Arthur the opportunity to expand his sales efforts, and by 1940 they had become a powerful force in the national olive market.
During the next two decades, Arthur and Henry’s innovative thinking continued to drive company growth. The Bell brand focused its efforts on grocery stores, delicatessens and supermarkets, while Bell-Carter diversified its product line to appeal to consumers and restaurants. Then in 1964, the third generation of the family entered the business, with the addition of Daniel's sons, Tim and Jud Carter.
In the 1990’s, the company tripled sales through acquisitions and diversification. This expansion included the purchases of The Maywood Olive Company, Oberti Olive Company and the Lindsay Olive Company.
Who would have dreamed that this little olive grove would blossom into a world-wide presence?
Today, they sell and market domestic olives, imported olives, and olive-related specialty products under the Lindsay and Bell brand names.
Bell-Carter Foods, Inc. is the largest table olive producer in the U.S. and the second largest in the world. They produce and sell well over half of all California olives in the nation, providing full-time employment to more than 500 people. Year after year, their commitment to quality has been rewarded with high ratings in the industry. No other olive company in the world has comparable ratings.