Press Room

September 12, 2013

U.S. International Trade Commission Report Details Steep Market Barriers Confronting U.S. Olive Oil Producers

CLOVIS, Calif. -- The U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) report on olive oil competitiveness documents the depth of challenges U.S. extra virgin olive oil producers face in the U.S. and foreign markets. The bottom line is clear: widespread olive oil fraud and mislabeling plus trade protections and enormous subsidies enjoyed by European producers add up to one giant hurdle for U.S. olive oil producers. The report, entitled Olive Oil: Conditions of Competition between U.S. and Major Foreign Supplier Industries, can be viewed here.Read more

July 23, 2013

Artisans in Austin: Texas Olive Ranch

by Megan Giller

There’s no need to go all the way to Italy when you can find great olive oils right here in Texas. For example, take the Texas Olive Ranch, which makes 100% pure Texas extra-virgin olive oil (known as EVOO in the biz). The ranch grows arbequina and arbosana Spanish olives as well as Greek koroneiki olives, and they harvest them mechanically using a modified grape harvester.Read more

July 18, 2013

New Farmer's Market At Eilan

by Fox S.A. Staff

This weekend is your chance to check out San Antonio's newest farmer's market "Ripe".

You can get plenty of fresh foods plus listen to live music. There is plenty of free fun for the whole family, including face painting and arts and crafts.Read more

June 6, 2013

Is Your Olive Oil As Healthy As You Think?

by Katherine Tallmadge, R.D.

The expensive olive oil in your kitchen cabinet is likely not as fresh, nutritious or high in quality as you assume it might be. Does that mean you won't receive the expected health benefits when using olive oil purchased from America's grocery shelves? Possibly.

This issue first came to my attention at a Mediterranean Diet Conference I attended in Florence, Italy, co-sponsored by New York University's Department of Dietetics and the James Beard Foundation. Read more

June 13, 2013

In the Pantry: How to Make Vinaigrette

Grocery lists can seem endless (and pricey), since the list doesn't stop at bread, milk, and cheese. Because you can make it at home, vinaigrette is one less thing you'll need to buy at the store. For a perfect summer salad, you can easily mix up a vinaigrette with ingredients you probably have on hand. Here's how to make homemade vinaigrette. Read more

February 25, 2013

Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack and Stroke

by Gina Kolata

About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found.

The findings, published on The New England Journal of Medicine's Web site on Monday, were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diet's effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet's benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue. Read more

December 12, 2012

Top 5 Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive Oil Times

by Elena Paravantes

Olive oil truly is liquid gold with its many health benefits. Considered the most important component of the traditional Mediterranean diet, this extraordinary fruit juice and its effects are still not fully understood. Yet some of the ways olive oil can preserve and improve human health have been firmly established. Here are the five most scientifically supported health benefits of olive oil today.Read more

December 8, 2012

Olive oil producers seek 'level playing field' in global market

by Michael Doyle

WASHINGTON — California olive oil producer Pat Ricchiuti feels the squeeze of foreign competition. So do his counterparts in Texas, Georgia and a handful of other states.

Now, with the help of congressional allies, these leading U.S. olive oil producers are forcing a closer look at a tough global market. In a U.S. International Trade Commission hearing this week, officials ratcheted up a yearlong investigation that could end up pitting importers against domestic producers and one country against another.

"We just want a level playing field so we can compete," said Ricchiuti, president of Enzo Olive Oil Co. in the San Joaquin Valley.Read more

December 6, 2012

U.S. Olive Oil Makers Say Imports Aren't Always So 'Extra Virgin'

NPR - All Things Considered

by Allison Aubrey

Italians may still be light-years ahead when it comes to gelato, but when it comes to extra-virgin olive oil? Watch out: U.S. producers are on it.

Across the country, this small industry is expanding. Out West, there's California Olive Ranch, where production has grown tenfold over the past six years; it's now producing upwards of 2 million gallons of olive oil a year. Down South, Cowgirl Brands in Dallas is putting, yes, Texas on the olive oil map. There's even a Native American brand, Seka Hills.

Currently, these domestic producers make up only a tiny sliver of the olive oil sold in the U.S. The remaining 98 percent comes from foreign producers in countries including Italy, Chile, Spain and Tunisia.

And if you listen to my radio story, you'll hear the complaints that domestic producers described to the U.S. International Trade Commission during a hearing Wednesday. Read more


October 26, 2012

Olive-growing giant headed for Victoria

Houston Chronicle

by William Pack

Jim Henry, a pioneer in the Texas olive industry, believes the midcoast area around Victoria could be the best place in Texas to grow olives and is planning a $5 million orchard there to prove it.

Henry currently produces extra virgin olive oil from the fruit of about 40,000 olive trees he's been raising at his Texas Olive Ranch in the Carrizo Springs area for eight years.

But with a group of investors, he's about to close on 383 acres northeast of Victoria where he plans to plant 300,000 olive trees. That will boost his company's productive capabilities and, he says, Texas' reputation as an olive-growing center.Read more

October 20, 2012

Olive producer to plant 300,000 trees in Victoria County

by Melissa Crowe

About 5,000 miles east of Jim Henry's orchard, more than 90 percent of the world's olives are grown.

"We're just a drop in the bucket," Henry said. He wants to change that.

With recent contracts for 383 acres off U.S. Highway 59 in Victoria County, Texas Olive Ranch is saddling up to be one of the major players in the American olive oil industry. He thinks Victoria County has the elements for success - the right weather, the right soil and the right water availability.

"I never built this orchard thinking I would get rich," Henry said, inspecting his Carrizo Springs press house. "I did it because I wanted to. I wasn't too concerned about the economics."

He plans to plant 200,000 olive trees within a year in Victoria County and another 100,000 trees the following year. He'll move the press house and bottling facility here, build a gift shop and eventually a bed and breakfast. He even has a partnership with a farmer in Calhoun County to expand further.Read more

September 11, 2012

Olive oil's health benefits? It's a slippery question

by Katherine Tallmadge

You feel good about using olive oil, right? You know it’s good for you, tasty and easy to use. Still, to get the most benefits — and the best bang for your buck – there’s more you should know.

“The health benefits of olive oil are 99 percent related to the presence of the phenolic compounds, not the oil itself,” says Nasir Malik, research plant physiologist at the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Research Service.

Malik is referring to the polyphenols in olive oil, nutrients also found in wine, tea, cocoa and many fruits and vegetables that have been discovered over the past decade to be the substances responsible for the bulk of olive oil’s health benefits, without which “you might as well use canola oil,” Malik says.Read more

August 15, 2012

Mediterranean Diet Enriched with Olive Oil may Protect Bone

A study to be published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) shows consumption of a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil for two years is associated with increased serum osteocalcin concentrations, suggesting a protective effect on bone.

Age-related bone mass loss and decreased bone strength affects women and men alike are an important determinant of osteoporosis and fracture risk. Studies have shown that the incidence of osteoporosis in Europe is lower in the Mediterranean basin. The traditional Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, with a high intake of olives and olive oil could be one of the environmental factors underlying this difference. Read more

Meet a Farmer: Jim Henry

Growing olives in Texas is a new industry but Jim Henry and other farmers like him are making the Lone Star State a big name in the olive oil community

June 6 2012

Texas Olive Ranch wins 4 medals in Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition

Texas Olive Ranch was awarded four medals for fine olive oil of outstanding taste, character and complexity in heavy competition at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Northern Hemisphere Competition at the Los Angeles County Fair in February. A silver medal was awarded to Texas Olive Ranch Arbequina variety extra virgin olive oil, and bronze medals were awarded to the Texas Olive Ranch Koroneiki variety extra virgin olive oil, the Roasted Garlic Infused Olive Oil, and the Mesquite Smoke Infused Olive Oil.

The Los Angeles County Fair Competition attracted 481 extra virgin olive oil entries from 416 producers representing 13 countries in the northern hemisphere, including Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. There were 75 Gold Medal awards, 165 Silver Medal Awards, and 85 Bronze Medal Awards. This was the first year to hold the Northern and Southern Hemisphere competitions separately to ensure that all international extra virgin olive oils can be judged at their freshest and best quality.

A complete list of award winners is available at

January 24, 2012

Olive Orchards Popping Up In South Texas

South Texas residents are used to hearing about crops like oranges, grapefruit, pecans and spinach. But not many people around here are used to hearing about olives growing in this south Texas heat. But a few ranchers just north of Laredo say this is the perfect area to grow olives for extra virgin olive oil.

Our Annette Garcia was out in Artesia Wells today to speak to Jerry Farrell who has an olive orchard in his back yard. Just off a busy highway, a little south of Cotulla, lies the serene Farrell ranch in Artesia Wells. In the back yard, an orchard of olive trees. Read more

tasting olive oil

January 3, 2012

Texas Olive Oil in the spotlight on PBS station KLRN

The Texas Olive Oil Council and PBS Television station KLRN Channel 9 celebrate the burgeoning Texas olive oil industry in the Lone Star State and the growers who recently harvested a bumper crop of the freshest, extra virgin olive oil on the planet. This Texas-sized confidence in the locally grown product will be featured on KLRN's broadcast of "El Camino Olive Trail", a new documentary Film about the Texas\Mexico olive oil movement and the people who make it. The program airs Saturday, January 7 from 5:30 - 7:00pm. all over South Texas.

The Film also features olive growers from the Del Rio, Ciudad Acuna & San Antonio area, and also Grammy Award winning music artist Raul Malo (former frontman of the Country Music supergroup The Mavericks). Raul's new Latin-Soul music is featured in the El Camino Olive Trail soundtrack.Read more

December 15, 2011

The scandalous world of olive oil

by Kai Ryssdal

Sometimes you can do a book interview and it's enough to just sit in a studio and talk. But sometimes it's more of an experiential thing, where there's something to actually do.

Which explains how I found myself out in West Hollywood last week at a store called Oliana, purveyor of of fine olive oils. I was there to meet and sample some of the goods with Tom Mueller, whose new book is called "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil". We started with a simple definition. Read more

extra virginity book

December 12, 2011

Losing 'Virginity': Olive Oil's 'Scandalous' Fraud

The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil is a ubiquitous ingredient in Italian recipes, religious rituals and beauty products. But many of the bottles labeled "extra-virgin olive oil" on supermarket shelves have been adulterated and shouldn't be classified as extra-virgin, says New Yorker contributor Tom Mueller.

Mueller's new book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, chronicles how resellers have added lower-priced, lower-grade oils and artificial coloring to extra-virgin olive oil, before passing the new adulterated substance along the supply chain. Read more

South Texas Olive Oil featured on PBS-TV in The Valley

KMBH Ch-38 staging a Texas Olive Oil Fiesta Dec. 10

Television station KMBH and the Texas Olive Oil Council celebrate the burgeoning US olive oil industry and the South Texas and Northern Mexico growers who make it in a new documentary film called El Camino Olive Trail. KMBH Ch-38 is staging a Texas Olive Oil Fiesta for the community at their station in Harlingen, Texas on Dec. 10, as part of the television broadcast that night. Joining in the festivities will be Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and other dignitaries from the Rio Grande Valley region.Read more

Texas Olive Ranch

Recipient of 2007 USDA Value Added Producer grant

More than a decade after planting his first trees, Jim Henry finally harvested a crop from his 60-acre olive orchard and manufactured the first and only Texas-made olive oil, all of which was sold before it was ever bottled.

"Our oil is in great demand," said Henry, owner of Texas Olive Ranch. "It's really kind of cool because in most farming operations, the hardest thing you have is to sell your product. In our case, I could sell 50 times more than I actually have. We're very lucky."

But it hasn't always been smooth sailing, and Henry said there were several false starts before Texas Olive Ranch even planted an orchard that was able to sustain itself in Texas' climate.Read more

August 4, 2011

Liquid Gold

By Michael Hoinski

The olive oil industry in Texas is still relatively new, but it has made great strides.

"Our extra-virgin olive oil is on par with anything in California or Europe," said Jim Henry, proprietor of the Texas Olive Ranch, which has operated in Carrizo Springs since the mid-1990s.

Mr. Henry, the scene's Johnny Appleseed of olive trees, will have samples of his award-winning olive oil at the Texas Music & Food Extravaganza, as will a dozen other suppliers from South Texas and Northern Mexico. Read more

Texas Olive Trails documentary to air on KEDT Corpus Christi PBS station August 7, 7pm

Josh Henry hosts this film about the people and places of the Texas Olive Oil industry. See the preview here.

June 15, 2011

Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence

C. Samieri, PhD, C. F�art, PhD, C. Proust-Lima, PhD, E. Peuchant, MD, PhD, C. Tzourio, MD, PhD, C. Stapf, MD, C. Berr, MD, PhD and P. Barberger-Gateau, MD, PhD

Objective: To determine whether high olive oil consumption, and high plasma oleic acid as an indirect biological marker of olive oil intake, are associated with lower incidence of stroke in older subjects.

Results: In the main sample, 148 incident strokes occurred. After adjustment for sociodemographic and dietary variables, physical activity, body mass index, and risk factors for stroke, a lower incidence for stroke with higher olive oil use was observed (p for trend = 0.02). Compared to those who never used olive oil, those with intensive use had a 41% (95% confidence interval 6%-63%, p = 0.03) lower risk of stroke. Read more

March 28, 2011

Texas Olive Oils Shine at Threadgill's Showcase

Packed venue indicative of public support for burgeoning Texas olive oil industry

The booming olive oil industry in South-Central Texas was on display Saturday, March 26 in front of large and enthusiastic audience of foodies at Threadgill's in Austin. Olive growers from all over Texas were on hand to find out how Texas compares to quality olive oils from Italy, Spain and Argentina, countries recognized as the top producers in the world.

Celebrating a banner Texas harvest in 2010, the First Annual Texas Olive Tasting & Showcase was a clear indication of how far the struggles and determination of growers like Texas olive pioneer Jim Henry have taken this new industry. "I'm delighted to see so much interest in Texas olive oil and such a large crowd at this event" said Henry, "and it's great too see that what we've been doing is now supporting efforts in Northern Mexico to plant olive orchards."

Texas Olive Ranch took second and third place in the large producer category with their Arbosana varietal olive oil and their Grove Master's Blend, respectively, although the panel of judges still chose an Italian olive oil over the Texas olive oil contenders.

You can download the complete event descriptionhere.

March 24, 2011

Texas Olive Oil: Taste Buds Tell the Tale

I'm crazy about olive oil infused with herbs for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Rosemary infused olive oil is delicious drizzled on potatoes or popcorn. Calendula infused oil is a miraculous skin treatment. Olive oil is the healthy choice for my heart and Extra Virgin Olive Oil - EVOO - is a mainstay of my wannabe gourmet kitchen.

Everybody knows that the countries bordering the Mediterranean sea produce most of the world's olives - Spain, Italy, Greece, Tunisia, France - 90 percent of which is pressed into oil. So Texas is the last place I'd look for the kind of goodness these sun-drenched countries press into a quality olive oil.

Yet here it is.Read more

Jim Henry and Jerry Farrell inspect olives

March 25, 2011

Texas Takes on the World

By Virginia B. Wood

When the invitation to judge at the first Texas Olive Oil Tasting & Contest - Texas vs. the World - landed on my desk, I was immediately intrigued. The blind tasting is scheduled for this Saturday, March 26, at the North Lamar Threadgill's location and will include olive oils from Texas, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, and Spain. The idea of pitting a new product from America against established Old World contenders reminded me of another historic tasting in the early Seventies. That time, brash, young vintners from California entered a red wine from Stag's Leap and a white from Chateau Montelena in a prestigious blind tasting in Paris. The California wines showed well enough against the French competition to deliver some much-needed international credibility to the then-fledgling California wine industry. I asked Jim Henry, olive rancher and founder of the Texas Olive Oil Council, if establishing an international reputation for Texas olive oil was part of his plan for this tasting. "I know that wine story, too, but that's really not my goal at this point," he said. "Right now, we're just trying to build an industry and make people aware that olives really can grow in Texas. We've invited some producers from around the world to join in the fun."Read more

1st annual Texas Olive Oil Tasting & Contest

Come join the Texas Olive Oil Council and Threadgill's North restaurant in Austin on Saturday, March 26th, 2011 to celebrate the burgeoning Texas olive oil industry and the South and Central Texas growers who recently harvested a bumper crop of the freshest, extra virgin olive oil on the planet. This confidence will be put to the test when a celebrity panel judge their 2010 crop of Texas olive oil in a blind taste test against the best from Argentina, Italy and Spain, countries recognized as some of the greatest producers of olive oil in the world. An estate olive oil from Ciudad Acu�a, Mexico will also be competing.

The event will feature Texas olive oil tasting stations and a screening of the "Texas Olive Trails" film coming to PBS stations in June 2011 (

Threadgill's will feature their signature home cooking prepared with authentic Texas olive oil. The judging and screening will be followed by a special concert featuring TexMex accordion maestro & Grammy award winner Joel Guzman Band (featured in the "Crazy Heart" movie).

You can download the complete announcementhere, which includes schedule, participants and location.

February 9, 2011

Olive oil study shows some consumers like it rancid

Most Northern California consumers dislike bitter and pungent olive oils - qualities favored by expert olive oil tasters - and many actually prefer olive oil that displays defective attributes such as rancidity, according to a new study from the Olive Center at the University of California, Davis.

Findings from the study, conducted by UC Davis sensory scientists Claudia Delgado and Jean-Xavier Guinard, will appear in the March issue of the journal Food Quality and Preference.Read more

Texas Olive Ranch

Jamuary 25, 2011

Beating the Odds: Olives growing nicely in Texas

By Clay Coppedge

Jim Henry has been waiting a long time for a year like this -- when the weather was as close to perfect as can be expected, and olives were harvested from his 40,000 trees by the ton. It was what he dreamed of when he started planting olive trees in Texas in the early 1990s, and was told by nearly everyone he asked that he was dreaming the impossible dream.

The dream started out as an observation, then a notion, and eventually evolved into the Texas Olive Oil Ranch in Carrizo Springs, the Texas Olive Oil Council and a potential new crop for producers in parts of Texas where the weather can usually be trusted to cooperate. Henry estimates that he harvested about three tons of olives this year, by far the most he has ever produced. It turned out to be "one of those years," -- but in a good way.Read more

Harvest Machine

September 23, 2010

Olives another kind of Texas oil

By William Pack

Good weather, maturing trees and more knowledgeable growers have combined to get the juices flowing in Texas' olive oil industry.

The Texas Olive Oil Council, a 16-year-old trade group that promotes olive production, is estimating that about 500 tons of olives will be produced for oil in Texas this year. That would demolish the old record of 100 tons set three years ago and provide more credibility for the state's still delicate olive industry. Read more


Texas Farmers Begin Harvesting Of Largest Olive Crop Ever

Carrizo Springs, TX, September 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ - Crowds have gathered in South Texas to observe the state's olive harvest season currently in full swing. Texas Olive Oil Council (TOOC) leaders are anticipating a statewide yield of approximately 500 tons; making this a banner year for the burgeoning olive oil industry. To mark this historic occasion the state's largest orchard, Texas Olive Ranch, invited the public for an up close view of the mechanical harvesting and process of pressing extra virgin oil.Read more


2010 harvest a banner year for state's burgeoning olive oil industry

There's a new oil rush in Texas, but instead of derricks and barrels of crude its hallmarks are lush, green orchards and aromatic bottles of liquid gold; and just like the wildcatters of the past this first generation of olive oil producers were quickly branded as zealous gamblers. The prevailing attitude was that olive trees were not sustainable in Texas. Today all indicators show Texas is positioned to develop into a major producer for the growing olive oil market.

The annual U.S. production of olive oil is 350,000 gallons; a mere 1% of the 50 million gallons Americans consume each year. Recent controversy over the deceptive labeling in some imported "extra virgin oil" has also increased interest in domestic product. It is a tremendous opportunity to revive idle farmland particularly in the legendary Winter Garden region in South Texas. The land which is on the same latitude as the Mediterranean is bringing the dreams and hard work of Texas olive growers to fruition.Read more

Texas Olive Trails

The state's blossoming olive oil industry has captured the interest of PBS. The network is currently filming a documentary called Texas Olive Trails that follows the emergence of the state's olive agriculture. It was a natural extension from a previous documentary series regarding the success of the Texas wine industry. Film director Bill Millet says the rise of the olive oil industry is equally fascinating.

"There are multiple elements that contribute to the fabric of this story," says Millet. "We delve into the amount of interest in locally grown food, the difference between authentic farmers and the olive tourist sites to the dynamics of the South Texas border region where the majority of the olive farms are located."

Texas Olive Trails will debut on PBS stations across the state in December and will be released nationally in January 2011.

July 1, 2010

Quantitative assessment of different phenolic compounds in Texas olive oils versus foreign oils

Nasir Malik, Jose Perez

Texas Olive Ranch is the first one to produce olive oil and has the sole product in the Texas market place; several growers are now starting to cultivate olive at various sites in Texas. The quality of olive oil produced and pressed in Texas has never been explored. This study was conducted to investigate the quality of the first commercially produced olive oil to assess it competitiveness in the market place.Read more

Weekend Snacking -- Go TEXAN Style

By Natalie Lacy Lange

Try this subtly spicy Texas snack the next time you curl up with a good book or have a family movie nightRead more

Santina Forrest

July 26, 2010

Keller couple flying high with well-oiled business

By Betty Dillard

Not all oil spills are a disaster.

A blooming interest among Texas foodies and health advocates for premium, fresh and flavorful olive oils, both domestic and foreign, is bearing fruit for husband and wife Shannon and Santina Forrest.

Seven months ago, the couple uncorked Olivada Olive Oil Tasting Room & Gourmet Boutique in Old Town Keller. Embracing the "try before you buy" concept, Olivada offers consumers tasting sessions of its high-quality extra virgin and flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars, many of them cultivated from small, artisan orchards.Read more

Harvest Machine

July 6, 2010

Planting technique greases the wheels of olive oil production

By Elizabeth Weise

The USA is the world's third-largest consumer of olive oil, but a paltry 1% of the silky liquid so beloved by Rachael Ray and a host of chefs is produced here. An entrepreneurial band of olive ranchers wants to change that - using what some in the industry term an "outlandish" growing method borrowed from Spain.

The planting technique, called super-high-density planting, or SHD, means that this year, the United States is set to surpass France in the production of extra virgin olive oil, says Patricia Darragh of the California Olive Oil Council in Berkeley, Calif. Read more

Tests indicate that imported "extra virgin" olive oil often fails international and USDA standards

Frankel, E. N.; Mailer, R. J.; Shoemaker, C. F.; Wang, S. C.; Flynn, J. D.

The UC Davis Olive Oil Chemistry Laboratory collaborated with the Australian Oils Research Laboratory to evaluate the quality of extra virgin olive oils sold on retail shelves in California. The two laboratories evaluated the oils based on standards and testing methods established by the International Olive Council (IOC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as several newer standards and testing methods adopted in Germany and Australia. These latter tests were adopted to help detect the adulteration of extra virgin olive oils with refined olive oils.Read more

A brief outline of the USDA's new olive oil grades

The USDA defines olive oil as the oil obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L.), to the exclusion of oils obtained using solvents or re-esterification processes and of any mixture with oils of other kinds.

The USDA's regulations include the following grades:

U.S. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is virgin olive oil which has excellent flavor and odor (median of defects equal to zero and median of fruitiness greater than zero) and a free fatty acid content, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams, and meets additional requirements as outlined.Read more

June 4, 2010

Feds get picky over what makes oil 'extra virgin'

Associated Press

By Juliana Barbassa

Extra virgin, light, with lemon, unfiltered, cold-pressed: the variety of olive oil on most supermarket shelves is dazzling. But what does it all mean?

These terms might be common currency among foodies and the farmer's market crowd, but they have never been enforceable, or legally defined in the United States - until now.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in April adopted scientifically verifiable standards for nomenclature such as "virgin" or "extra virgin." They will start enforcing them in October, just in time for the harvest of trees that are now in full flower.Read more

Jim Henry

May 14, 2010

Jim Henry, Texas Oil Baron

Pressing Times™

By Laura Kooris, Contributing Writer

The machine looks like an alien's udder. Six blue spring-loaded teats from the stainless and flex-tubed contraption fill and staunch the olive oil flow into bottles. Each glass bottle disengages and moves to a table for corking and labeling. The bottling machine and its companion oil press are state-of-the-art equipment, the first ones in Texas.

The assistants move with the rhythm of the machine, but rather than working mechanically, they are joking, smiling, and carefully finishing their production line work. The activity is celebratory and historic in this Olympic pool-sized frantoia - the mill. This work at Texas Olive Ranch marks the largest commercial crop ever harvested in the state. Above a nearby door is a sign that reads: "In Olives We Trust." Read more

Sunset over the Olives

Texas Olive Trails

A film about people of vision... true Texas pioneers in a land of sun, drought, solitude and broken dreams; just across the borderline...

This is a story of an endless source of wonder, the fountain of wealth and power and one of the world's great commodities: Olive Oil.Read more

April 27, 2010

USDA Revises the Grade Standards for Olive Oil

By Jimmie Turner, Billy Cox

The U. S. Department of Agriculture is revising the U.S. grade standards for olive oil.

The California Olive Oil Council, a trade association of olive oil producers, petitioned USDA to revise the current U.S. grade standards to conform to current industry standards commonly accepted in the United States and abroad. These revised standards will provide a common language for trade and provide consumers more assurance of the quality of olive oil that they purchase.Read more

May 17, 2010

Anna Texas Community Forum: Texas Olive Oil

So this new manager (we'll call him, "POW!") comes in one Monday with a bottle of olive oil tucked under his arm, and he sets it on his desk. Invariably, we ask him about it. Once enough interest is generated, and not unlike a snake-oil salesman, he cracks the top and introduces us to mesquite-smoked olive oil, made right here in Texas. He bought it at the McKinney Farmer's Market over the past weekend (they hold it every weekend at Chestnut Square on Highway 5 & Anthony).Read more

April 16, 2010

The New Oil in Texas: Olive Oil

Interview with Jim Henry, founding director of the Texas Olive Oil Council, Air Date April 16, 2010.

Segment 3: Texas has always been about producing oil, but theres a new oil in Texas that comes from the ground - olive oil. California has a successful olive industry and now some are hoping the business can take root in Texas. Jim Henry is the president of the Texas Olive Oil Council. Link includes the audio interview.Read more

April 6, 2010

A New Texas Oil Rush

By Edmund Tijerina, Food Writer

Supermarket shelves are lined with olive oils from Spain, Italy, Greece, California and now Australia. Texas olive oil producers are working hard to get you to look for theirs as well.

"People are always dismayed, because they didn't realize there was an industry in Texas, but they're excited about it," says Sandy Winokur, founder, owner and operator of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, near Elmendorf.Read more

Olive Trees

Texas's New Boom

edible Austin

By Terry Thompson-Anderson

... the earliest recorded experimental planting of olive trees in Texas was during the 1930s in the Carrizo Springs area - also called the Winter Garden Region - by Ernest Mortensen of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. The trial's results proved that olive trees would indeed bear fruit in Texas, but it would take an additional 60 years for commercial olive growing to bloom.Read more

Farrell Orchard Sells Trees

Farrell's Olive Orchard Now Offering Arbequina Olive Trees for Sale

One of the oldest olive orchards in Texas, Farrell's Olive Orchard, is now propagating olive trees to meet the demand for starter trees for new orchards cropping up all over Texas. "We are taking orders now for standard Arbequina starters," says Jerry Farrell, proprietor. Farrell's Artesia Wells orchard has been a key site for Texas growers' information about what varieties of olive trees grow best in Texas, having started with 13 different types and using a variety of organic cultivation techniques. He now believes that the Arbequina is the best cultivar for the state. "Arbequina is cold resistant and heat tolerant," he says, "and I believe it produces the best crop yield."

Arbequina starters may be purchased either as the patented I-18 cultivar through NursTech distributors in Texas or as the standard cultivar. Farrell, also a partner in Texas Olive Ranch between Carrizo Springs and Asherton, is propagating the standard Arbequina. To learn more about Farrell's Olive Orchard, call Jerry at 832-250-4764.

November 16, 2009

New Olive Oil Standards

Food Product Design

To prevent mislabeling and fraud, the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) recently started asking states to adopt the international standard for olive oil.

States began working closely with food safety and consumer advocacy officials to develop state-enforced standards for olive oil production and labeling. In November 2008, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to adopt the international standard for olive oil. California, Oregon and New York soon passed state standards for olive oil. Read more

November 12, 2009

Four Seasons Market at Firewheel Town Center in Garland welcomes more vendors


GARLAND - The Four Seasons Market at Firewheel Town Center is adding more than a dozen new vendors to its lineup for Saturday's event, bringing the total number to more than 45 local food and craft producers.

Newly added products include wine by the glass and by the bottle from Calais Winery; ancho chili pork, chicken tomatillo, black bean and corn tamales from the Tamale Company; and chocolate-dipped frozen bananas and other fruit from Nana's Bananas. Read more

November 14, 2009

Olive oil acreage keeps growing

Capital Press

By Tim Hearden

If you see a grove of short, densely planted olive trees in California, chances are they're part of an olive oil boomlet.

While the table olive industry has struggled, the acreage of the fruit grown for oil has increased dramatically in the past five years. A majority of the state's roughly 20,000 acres of oil-producing trees have gone in during that period, said Bill Krueger, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Orland. Read more

November 5, 2009

Olive Oil Labeling Standards Help Fight Counterfeiting

Packaging Digest

It's no secret olive oil, the delicious staple responsible for the rich flavors and heart-healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet, is fast becoming dear to the American palate. As demand for this premium product grows, the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) and its members want to ensure consumers get what they pay for when buying olive oil.Read more

September 29, 2009

Natural Compound In Extra-virgin Olive Oil -- Oleocanthal -- May Help Prevent, Treat Alzheimer's

Oleocanthal, a naturally-occurring compound found in extra-virgin olive oil, alters the structure of neurotoxic proteins believed to contribute to the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease. This structural change impedes the proteins' ability to damage brain nerve cells.Read more

October 5, 2009

ACCC Crackdown Puts Heat on Olive Oil Claims

By Isobel Drake

An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation has discovered that some distributors may have misled consumers with assertions that their product was extra virgin olive oil. As such, three companies have agreed to carry out more testing to ensure they do not fall foul of the Trade Practices Act.Read more

Jim Henry

September 22, 2009

Jim Henry's Texas Olive Ranch

Jim Henry is another Texan who exemplifies the motto - do what you love and the money will follow. In another life, Henry traveled the world with Pier One Imports and fell in love with the olive oil industry ten years ago. And, so he brought it home here to Texas and started Texas Olive Ranch.Read more

Oil Pouring

August 27, 2009

A New Endeavor: Olive Ranch Becoming a Reality

By Clay Coppedge, Country World Staff Writer

Despite criticism from skeptics, Curtis Mickan and his grandson Josh Swafford believe olives can be grown in certain parts of Texas. They have staked a lot of time and money in that belief by starting the Central Texas Olive Ranch outside of Walburg.Read more

July 6, 2009

Olive Oil Labels Reflect New Data

By Don Curlee

As California's olive oil industry expands and refines, designations of various grades of oil are becoming more distinct and more identifiable.

Consumers will face challenges as they learn to differentiate between extra virgin (high-quality) and oil pressed from the pomace of cull olives.Read more

October, 2008

Texas Olive Ranch

Ag Marketing Resource Center

More than a decade after planting his first trees, Jim Henry finally harvested a crop from his 60-acre olive orchard and manufactured the first and only Texas-made olive oil, all of which was sold before it was ever bottled.

"Our oil is in great demand," said Henry, owner of Texas Olive Ranch. "It's really kind of cool because in most farming operations, the hardest thing you have is to sell your product. In our case, I could sell 50 times more than I actually have. We're very lucky."Read more

March 17, 2009

Farmers strike oil in Texas - Olive Oil

By John Griffin, Food Writer

Farming was always something that interested Jim Henry.

When he was younger, he thought Texas would be the perfect place to grow grapes, but the experts told him it was impossible, given the terrain.

More recently, he decided the Lone Star State would be perfect for olives. Again, people called it folly. This time, he refused to listen.

Henry planted olive orchards in Marble Falls, but the naysayers were right: The trees froze to death. Undeterred, he moved south to Carrizo Springs, where he's planted 40,000 olive trees and introduced Texas Olive Ranch olive oil to the marketplace. Read more

March 6, 2009

Olive oils to show country of origin

European Voice

By Zo� Casey

All olive oils, from Spain's golden nutty olive oils to Italy's dark green grassy-flavoured olive oils, will be labelled with their country of origin from July 1, 2009, the European Commission said today. Read more

February 20, 2009

Women Who Consume Olive Oil Preserve Their Bone Mass Better

A study from the Harokopio University of Athens (Greece) determines that adherence to a dietary pattern close to the Mediterranean diet, with high consumption of fish and olive oil and low red meat intake, has a significant impact in women skeletal health. Read more

February 19, 2009

Best-of-the-best heart healthy foods: O is for Olive oil

by Debora Yost

When it comes to heart-protecting good fat, olive oil is about as good as it gets. Now, new research is finding that the better the olive oil, the better it is for your heart. Read more

Olive Oil Bottle

February 11, 2009

Items from Flavors From Afar Available in McKinney

Pegasus News wire

Fans of gourmet boutique Flavors From Afar who live north of town now have a second location where they can find their favorite specialty foods and gifts: at Ginny's Interiors in McKinney. Products featured at Ginny's were selected based on feedback from customers and include the following: Read more

January 12, 2009

California Standardizes Olive Oil; Texas to Follow?

Houston Press Blogs

By John Nova Lomax

As of January 1, California became the second state in the union to enact laws enforcing standardization of the olive oil industry. (Connecticut became the first late last year.) Texas olive grower Jim Henry hopes that Texas will become the third. Read more

Olive Oil Definitions and Labeling Requirements Enacted into Law

On September 30, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 634 to provide stronger support to domestic olive oil producers nationwide by giving further clarification and quality control over olive oil sold in the United States. In sum, the bill tightens current law regarding the definition of olive oil, including flavored oils, and creates five olive oil grades for labeling and marketing that conform with international standards. Read more

Olive Pressing Photo

Special Manzanillo Olive Pressing

On December 8, we received a load of more than five tons of manzanillo olives from our friend Gary Woods in Gila Bend Arizona. We were delighted that they survived the trip in fine condition, big and firm, and loaded with leaves. We knew they were going to make a beautiful olive oil. Jim and Jerry fired up the press and while Tony and Rene started loading the hopper. All systems go, the olives tumbled out of the washer into the crusher and churned for about an hour filling the press house with a wonderfully intense fresh olive aroma. A little later, the first oil poured out of the separator, very green and fruity with a nice peppery back. It's really special and we hope we get to make more next year!

Olive Grower

Winter 2008 Issue

Olive Industry Ripens in Texas

Landscapes Magazine

Photographs by Jim Lincoln

Among the many labels of imported olive oil on Texas grocery store shelves, shoppers can now find a surprising newcomer -- Texas Olive Ranch 100% Texan Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Texas grown and bottled, it is the first of its kind to hit grocery store shelves. Read more

Texas Co-op Cover Olive Oil Bottle

August 2008

Texas Olive Oil: Pressed For Success

Texas Co-op Power Magazine

By Rob McCorkle

A giant, boxy, blue beast on wheels lumbers through Southwest Texas farmland, belching smoke and harvesting row after row of silvery-leafed trees laden with marble-sized fruit, some the color of a cactus pad and others a fine merlot. Read more