Back in the 1980s Jim Henry noticed how much South Texas looked like southern Spain and wondered why nobody was growing olive trees. After 20 years of research, trial, and error, he founded Texas Olive Ranch in Carrizo Springs and brought in the first commercial olive harvest in Texas in 2007. About that time he met Karen Lee, whose background in specialty food marketing seemed like a good fit. By the end of 2008 they were partners, with Jim growing olives and running the mill, and Karen doing product development and marketing through Cowgirl Brands. From the first orchard planted with 40,000 olive trees in 2005, the Texas Olive Ranch brand now produces olive oil from over 300,000 olive trees across south Texas and produces extra virgin olive oil, infused olive oils, and technical olive oil blends for cooking.
Jim and Karen are very active in the Texas Olive Oil Council, dedicated to helping grow the Texas olive oil industry through grower development and consumer education. In addition, they contribute olive oil to community organizations and events throughout the state.
Carrizo Springs, TX