The Texas Association of Olive Oil (TXAOO) supports, promotes, and defends the growing, harvesting, processing, marketing and sale of Texas grown olive oil. TXAOO, through its members, coordinates all olive related activity in the state of Texas.
The Texas Association of Olive Oil (TXAOO) was established in 2016. TXAOO working with the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas A&M AgriLife and the American Olive Oil Producers Association, combines all segments of the olive industry together in one organization which can effectively work to promote and develop the Texas olive oil industry.
Currently, Texas accounts for a very small percentage of olive oil production, with the majority of the commercial oils imported from Europe, and the bulk of American olive oil coming from California. However, the Texas industry is growing! Your support of Texas olive oil ensures continued growth and development of this industry in Texas.
Board of Directors
President – Cathy Bernell
My 12 years of experience in the Texas olive industry begins with one of the first olive orchards in Texas, extends to helping build the Texas olive industry infrastructure with the mobile olive mill and includes involvement and spearheading research projects, legislative initiatives and current positions of Texas Association of Olive Oil and Texas Olive Oil Advisory board(s). I look forward to bringing innovation, cooperation and growth to the Texas olive industry.
Vice-President – Michael Paz
Michael Paz is an honor graduate of Texas State University. He is General Manager of Texana Henrichson Ranch. His 136 acre olive orchard is located in LaSalle County.
Treasurer – Jill Jewett
My husband, Dunham, and I started growing olives in 2003. We have participated in courses at UC Davis, have established relationships with faculty members at Texas A&M and are continuously trying to do everything we can to learn more about the industry and best growing practices.
Secretary – Mary Goerner
We have been olive growers since Spring of 2013 when our first olive trees were planted and became producers in 2016 with our first major crop. It was at that time that we purchased and installed our Pieralisi Fattoria 3/4 Ton/Hour Olive Mill. We became Certified Organic for our Olive Crop as well as Organic Handler-Processor effective 21 July 2020 by Texas Department of Agriculture. We open the mill for non-organic olive crops immediately following the completion of all organic crop.
Board Member – Beth Boone
My husband and I farm 20 acres of young olive trees that are still maturing with hopes for first production next year. We’ve been members of TXAOO since it was founded in 2017. I’m honored to be nominated for a position to the TXAOO Board. I have over 25 years of marketing and operational management experience in high-technology firms, energy firms and recently, bird conservation. I’ve created marketing programs and processes that increase revenue and visibility for Fortune 500 firms to privately-held startups to non-profit organizations. It’s an exciting time to be in the Texas olive oil industry and I hope to apply my marketing experience to help the organization promote the great work the members are experiencing with the public.
Board Member – Randy Brazil
I’ve been involved in growing olives and producing organic extra virgin olive oil in Southeast Texas for the past nine years. I’ve been speaking to different organizations in the Beaumont area about growing olives in Southeast Texas. I have also been involved in marketing and promoting our product.
Board Member – Christine McCabe
Owner, grower, producer for Lone Star Olive Ranch and an owner/the miller for Texas Mobile Mill with contracts throughout Texas and various regions of California and Arizona. I campaigned extensively for legislative action at the Capitol and met with congressional members seeking support for the Texas olive industry, and helped craft writing outlines for the interim charge. I have assisted new growers with olive grove installations and helped existing growers throughout the 5 Texas growing regions improve cultivation practices and increase fruit yields.
Ad Hoc Board Member – Stephen Janak
Stephen Janak is an Extension Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, working on The Sustainable Fruit Project. This project aims to determine the sustainability and economic feasibility of perennial fruit crops while also working to improve and expand production in Texas. He has earned a BS degree from Texas A&M University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Horticulture. Stephen has been working closely with the olive industry since 2018, developing educational programs and working directly with olive growers to solve horticulture-related problems and provide advice. He also conducts the Texas Coordinated Olive Variety Trial, which tests 19 different olive varieties, and conducts on-farm olive research projects.