Friday, October 17, 2014

Texas Olive Ranch

Since we were going to be in Texas for the whole month of October, we decided that we would like to go to see the Texas Olive Ranch.


I only know about the ranch because it is owned and operated by my first cousin, Jim Henry.  Jim’s Mother and my Mother are sisters and I haven’t seen Jim in at least 30 years.


I bet we both looked a lot different 30 years ago!!  When I called Jim, he graciously invited us to come and watch the process of pressing some olives.  We missed harvesting which takes place in September.

His crop had  already been pressed but he was doing some for another olive grower and we were lucky enough to be able to watch.


Where it all begins….with this grove of olive trees.  He has about 40,000 trees at the ranch.


Here, the olives are being fed into the bin that will take them through the process of pressing.  The black olives are not from a different tree, but are on the top of the tree.  They ripen faster because they get more sunshine.  They are also juicier.


The next step in the line…..this is where they get washed with water only and the debris and leaves get separated from the olives.  Extra virgin olive oil means that the olives are pressed without any heat or chemicals. 


Here the olives are coming out of the “water bath” for lack of a better term.  I guess I wasn’t paying proper attention because I don’t remember what the proper terms are.  The olives are dropping into a machine that churns them.


Hard to tell here but the olives are churned into what looks like a thick paste.  This part takes about 45 minutes.


The paste goes into this machine next and is separated….again I don’t know the proper explanation or terms.  But I think this was called an extruder. 



This is another shot of the extruder from a different angle.


See that stream of olive oil coming out??  The whole process is pretty cool to watch and I am grateful that we got the chance to see it.

Now this isn’t really all of the pictures but I don’t want to make this blog too long.  So look for some more about our visit to The Texas Olive Ranch on my next blog on Sunday!!