Texas olive oils are becoming the toast of the culinary world and olive growers from around the state reached a milestone on last month when they met in Dripping Springs to elect, for the first time, a board of directors to help advocate for the booming industry. The Texas Olive Growers Association & Council elected board members and committee directors to advance the association’s mission to promote the growth of olive tree farming, olive oil production and olive farming education in Texas.
John Gambini, owner of Texas Hill Country Olive Company in Dripping Springs, was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors. Gambini has been the interim director of the organization since its inception in 2013. Two olive oils from Gambini’s certified-organic orchard won gold and silver awards at the prestigious 2014 New York International Olive Oil Competition, leaving no doubt that Texas olives make some of the best oils in the world.
Other board members elected are: Kerry Houston of Polo Legacy Partners LLC in Dimmit County, Rebecca Shockley of Eagle Lake Olive Orchard in Eagle Lake, Jim Kruger of Kruger’s Double O in Dripping Springs, and Gerry Wells of Victoria.
Committee Directors include: Cathy Burnell of Lone Star Olive Ranch in Madisonville; Monte Nesbit, Extension Program Specialist at Texas A & M University; Denise Campbell of Triple C Farms in Sealy; Dan Griffith of Griffith Orchard in Bandera; and Mary Goerner of Olive View Ranch LLC in Hallettsville. “The olive industry in Texas is flourishing,” said Gambini. “We want to encourage more growers to become involved as we believe this industry is an important new agricultural crop.”
Texas is now home to more than 80 growers and more than 400,000 olive trees. The state is the second-largest producer of olive oil in the US, behind California, but is gaining momentum in market share of US-produced olive oils.
“Olive oils produced in the United States are of a better quality than imported oils,” said Gambini. “Domestic oils are not adulterated with canola and other oils the way imported oils often are.”