COLDSPRING – A popular Christmas tree grower in San Jacinto County has now added olive trees to his farm.
Skip Glasgow of Iron Creek Farms in Evergreen has been known for years as a Christmas tree grower and now he's planted 1,000 olive trees of four different varieties.
"The demand for olive oil exceeds its supply in the United States," Glasgow told members of the San Jacinto County Master Gardeners and others recently. "Consumption of olive oil is increasing rapidly. In the last few years there has been a 72 percent increase."
According to Glasgow San Jacinto County is located in one of the best areas of Texas for growing olive trees.
He planted his first 200 trees in November of 2010 and planted 422 more in 2012, finishing out with a total of 1,000 this year.
"The trees will begin to produce fruit in two to three years and will be in full production in five to six years after planting," Glasgow said.
He produced one gallon of oil this year from the first 200 trees he planted in 2010 which were Spanish olives.
"The trees have a shallow root system and weed control is a major issue," he said.
Yields vary, depending on the type of olives planted, climate, pests and disease, but can range between two tons per area to five tons per acre on mature trees. You can expect between 12 gallons to 50 gallons of oil per ton.
One Texas grower reported yielding one quart of olive oil per 10 pounds of olives and expects to yield 45 to 50 pounds of olives per tree.
Olive trees are self-fertile though production may improve with cross-pollination, Glasgow said.
Olives fresh from the tree are inedible and must be processed to be served as food or prepared as an oil.
"They taste very bitter right off the tree and need to be brined to remove the bitterness," he said.
Iron Creek Farms is located on FM 1725, 1.1 miles from Hwy. 150. Glasgow can be reached at