Texas Olive Farmers Hope to Strike Gold This Season

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelSeptember 20, 2016 11:11 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

It turns out olive trees don’t just thrive in the Mediterranean – they also flourish in South Texas. According to Sergio Chapa with the San Antonio Business Journal, more and more of the trees have been planted in that region of the state over the last 10 years. He says South Texas growers have been trying to get a foothold in the lucrative olive oil market.

“Last year in the 2015 harvest, there were an estimated 1.5 million olive trees in the state of Texas,” Chapa says. “And together the harvest generated around 14,000 thousand gallons of olive oil.”

Now, let’s fast-forward to 2016.

“We’re currently in the middle of the olive harvest in South Texas and from what I’m told from growers it’s going to be a really, really good year for olives in South Texas,” he says. 

So good, in fact, farmers told Chapa they’re expecting a bumper crop. They’re hoping that translates into record olive oil production – because there’s a chance it might not.

“With the heavy spring rains in May that means the water content in the fruit is higher than normal than most years, meaning there’s less oil, but they’re hoping the sheer volume of fruit will make up for that difference,” Chapa says. 

The olive harvesting season lasts through October.

Texas energy giant ExxonMobil wants to give a bunch of state attorneys the brush off – about 17 state attorneys general have been trying to find out what the company knew about climate change decades ago. Yesterday, Exxon squared off against the Massachusetts attorney general in a Dallas courtroom.

Jeffrey Weiss with the Dallas Morning News says at the hearing, the plot thickened: Exxon has been cooperating with another state’s investigation while giving Massachusetts the cold shoulder.

“The New York attorney general was the first one to engage in this line of investigation,” Weiss says. “And Exxon has supplied many, many, many hundreds of documents to them over a series of months even though some of the objections that Exxon is raising against Massachusetts is that the investigation is politically engaged, which is what they say, would also apply just as well to what’s going in New York, and yet the company is still supplying documents to New York.”

The judge also told both sides: come back in a week.

A man appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in Houston yesterday after being arrested for picking up a package he thought contained explosives. Federal investigators allege 50-year-old Houstonian Cary Lee Ogborn tried to buy bomb-making materials through an encrypted network online.

He told a vendor, who happened to be an undercover FBI agent, he was planning to blow up a building.