South Liberty County Quarterly

Olive oil, a tangy addition to any meal. Its potential is limitless as farmers all over the world are beginning to experiment with the valuable commodity. In recent years the olive oil trade has seen scandal as mafia ties have soiled the now booming trade, no pun intended. When a person mentions olive oil the first locations to come to mind are the vineyards of Italy, Greece, and even sunny California. That is to say until Gino Venitucci, an Ialian, brought the valuable little plan to the wet climate of southeast Texas. Gino is no longer running the business. Instead, it has been purchased by a partnership out of the small town of Devers, Texas. Randy and Monica Brazil, Cully and Melissa Devillier, and Steve and Rhonda Devillier purchased the farm in 2008 and have since brought the historic olive into the limelight.

A gift from the goddess Athena, the olive has become a staple for chefs all over the world .With origins in ancient Greece, the delicious oil can now be purchased in just about any super market. However, the oil produced by the Southeast Texas Olive company is beginning to grow in size and reputation with many businesses in Liberty and the surrounding areas stocking their shelves with the olive oil. Southeast Texas Olive has a total of 70 acres, totaling nearly 10,500 trees. A far cry from the original 20 acres planted by Gino.

Olive oil is used by chefs all over the world because of not only the unique flavor the oil provides, but also the beneficial vitamins that the miracle oil provides. Rich in vitamin A & E, the oil is full of antioxidants and low on chemicals. One story even goes as far as healing an ear ache.

I had the opportunity to sit and speak with Mr. and Mrs. Brazil, a friendly couple who welcome me into their home as if I was an old friend.

REPORTER: “Why do you think olive oil isn’t as big of an industry in southeast Texas as say rice or cattle?”

RANDY: “There is a very limited infrastructure because everything comes out of California or Europe, but this will change as more people get into the business…people want to see what will happen to us.”

REPORTER: “Do you have any advice for someone looking to get into the olive business?”

RANDY: “You will need at least 20 acres of trees, I would not go above HWY 105 North because of the freeze, and you will need to know how to harvest and how to mill before you get started.

REPORTER: “Where do you see yourself in the next five years?”

RANDY: “We have already outgrown our original mill, and now we are leasing a new mill. Last year was a real good year, this year was not because of all of the rain. We were only able to harvest one half of the amount that was harvested in 2014. We will have our orchard completely planted, totaling nearly 40,000 trees. We are hoping to build our business up to be able to take other farmers olives and process them in our mill.”

Randy closed with this statement, “Southeast Texas has a new oil and it’s olive oil.”

You can contact Randy Brazil at 409-267-7006 or Rhonda Devillier at 409-656-5546.

A bottle of the olive oil will run $15 per bottle or $140 per case (12 bottles per case.).