The olive trees at Southeast Texas Olive orchard were planted in Devers, Texas after careful planning and research. Gino Venitucci, an Italian petroleum engineer, traveled Italy, Spain and California gathering information on the olive oil industry. For three years, he spent his time focusing on various olive varieties, pressing, bottling and grove management.
Gino, with the help of experts, chose Southeast Texas due to the climate comparison to Italy where olive orchards flourish. In 2009, he planted 40 acres of trees.
Randy and Monica Ann Brazil were neighbors to the olive orchard; Randy is a cattle rancher and plant worker. Since the beginning of the olive orchard, Randy helped Gino with tilling the land and anything else he could. The Brazils with partners, Culley, Melissa, Steve and Rhonda Devillier, purchased the operation. The Devillier families are fourth generation local farmers and ranchers with a wealth of agriculture and finance experience.
There are more than 34,000 Koroneki and Arbequina olive trees in the orchard today. The farm is more than 120 acres including more than 50 acres of olive trees with room to expand. Arbequina olives produce a smooth buttery taste and make up about 90 percent of the crop. Koroneiki trees give the oil a bit more pungent flavor completing the final 10 percent. Together, these olives are blended and pressed to create the smooth fresh flavor of Southeast Texas Olive Oil. The partners work as a team on the various aspects of production, marketing and selling the product.
Southeast Texas Olive is now certified 100% organic and looks forward to the thriving and healthy future of olive oil.