A few months ago we watched a 60 Minutes show titled Agromafia. It reported on how the Italian mafia has infiltrated the Italian food industry and reaps huge profits by making and exporting "fake" olive oil to other countries. They take a tasteless, odorless oil, such as sunflower oil, add a few drops of chlorophyll to give it a greenish color and sell it as extra virgin olive oil. It is estimated that 75-80% of the extra virgin olive oil imported and sold in the US as is fake or does not meet the legal standard for extra virgin. To learn more about it, check out the link above to the 60 Minutes show. It is very interesting and, for me, quite disturbing.
After watching that show, I refused to buy imported olive oil and started buying olive oil made in the United States. It is easy to find olive oil from California in the supermarket. So, when we came across this Texas olive farm, I had to stop.
The farm is near Dripping Springs, TX. They had a nice store and small restaurant.
They produce three kinds of olive oil and have won several prestigious awards.
There were a couple of tasting stations in the store and we enjoyed tasting the olive oils.
In addition to these plain olive oils, they have several varieties of infused oils they produce.
After browsing through the store, we took one of the tours they offer. We got to see some of the olive trees.
They occasionally have hard freezes in this part of Texas. When that happens, most of the trees will freeze back to the ground. They normally resprout from the base of the trunk and grow back, but the trees don't produce olives in these years. So, this company has a farm farther south in Texas where they have more olive trees.
The last half of the tour was of their production facility.
The tour guide explained what each piece of equipment did and showed us a picture of what the olive oil looks like right after it is extracted. After this it goes through several processes during which large particles and debris settle out and it is filtered several times.
This machines puts labels on bottles.
And this one, fills bottles. These are some balsamic vinegars they also produce.
We bought a bottle of their extra virgin olive oil while we were there and I plan to order more of their products in the future. They have a great website where you can view their products and order online.