Friday, April 9, 2010

Growing the Texas Olive Oil Industry

Opportunity continues to grow in Texas as described in this recent Houston Chronicle article about the burgeoning olive oil industry.

As mentioned in the story, annual U.S. production of olive oil is 350,000 gallons compared to our annual consumption of nearly 50 million gallons. That means we produce less than 1 percent of what we consume. I see this as a tremendous opportunity for Texas agriculture.

At TDA, we are working to make sure olive growers don’t go at it alone. Through our Specialty Crop Block Grant program, $49,999 went to Texas Tech University (in partnership with the Texas Olive Oil Council) in 2009 to increase olive oil production in Texas.

With help from another $20,000 in federal specialty crop funds, TDA also partnered with the Texas olive oil industry to create a recipe book called, "GO TEXAN Olive Oil Recipes, Savor the Flavors of Texas." The book is available for download at or by e-mail at We also partner with farmers markets, grocery stores and the shrimp and produce industries to conduct retail demonstrations that pair Texas olive oil with other GO TEXAN foods.

I have personally toured Texas olive orchards and met with our cutting edge farmers - their operations are definitely something to see. I encourage you to do the same. For more information, visit the Texas Olive Oil Council at

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