191. Central Texas Olive Ranch
I have recently discovered a show on the Cooking Channel called "From Spain With Love". The reason the show fascinates me is because of the many locations that the host visits, the scenery, the snippets of culture that are revealed and of course, the unique food. I began a love affair with Spain back in high school when I immersed myself in the Spanish language and branched out to include an interest in all the countries that speak the Spanish language. By the time I had graduated from high school, I had studied in Mexico and visited Spain.
What I discovered during my short visit to Spain was that the country is beautiful, full of history, art and architecture, and intensely proud of their traditions and customs. One of the great traditions that is passed down from generation to generation is the cultivation of olives. The Spanish are connoisseurs of olive oil and use distinct varieties for specific dishes. The most recent episode of "From Spain With Love" was all about olive oil- liquid gold.
Spain produces and distributes more olive oil than any other place in the world, including Italy. Olives grow on small trees that are native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin, Asia and Africa. The olive fruit is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil. The olive tree is an evergreen tree or shrub that rarely exceeds 26-49 feet tall. The leaves are silvery green and the trunk is typically gnarled and twisted. The olive tree is a very hardy species and is drought, disease, and fire-resistant, and can live for a very long time. Many olive trees in the groves around the Mediterranean are said to be hundreds of years old and some trees may be as old as 2,000 years old. Olive oil is much like fine wine and the taste will vary according to the type of olive grown, as well as the climate and soil conditions.
Many regions that have Mediterranean-like climates are able to cultivate olives such as California, Chile, Peru, Australia, and New Zealand. Now, olives are being grown in Texas and producers have the support of an organization called the Texas Olive Oil Council.
In nearby Walburg, Central Texas Olive Ranch has planted three varieties of olives that are suitable for this area. This is the first olive grove in Central Texas and will be producing 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil this fall. The 23,000 tree olive grove at Central Texas Olive Ranch was planted on 33 acres in the Spring of 2009 and they have room to expand.
Central Texas Olive Ranch is now constructing a 6,000 square foot building where they will process the oil, have sales offices, a presentation room, and products. They welcome anyone to stop by and visit or you can arrange for a personal tour to have questions answered about the trees, oil, or process of making olive oil.
Texas may see the start of a new oil boom- olive oil. The industry is thriving and growing from what started as a relatively new specialty crop. The Texas Olive Oil Council was founded in 1994 as a non-profit organization with the purpose of successfully cultivating olives in Texas. Texans are doing it right here in Walburg.
Location: Central Texas Olive Ranch
Directions: 5 miles east of Interstate 35, down FM 972, north of Georgetown. Exit
268 off of I-35 and travel East on FM 972 to Walburg. Once you go
through historic Walburg, we are another 1 mile east on FM 972. Once
you pass CR 316, you will start to see a white fence on your left; soon
to follow, our entry gate! Come stop by and see us anytime!
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