Oil Found on Family Farm in Southern Georgia
Just north of the Florida border in southern Georgia is a southern farm that is growing a crop that hasn't been grown commercially in Georgia since the late 1800's. Southern chefs will be giddy as schoolgirls when they finally taste the product in its final form, olive oil.
Jason Shaw, an University of Georgia graduate, says his first fall harvest of olives yielded enough fruit for only 500 bottles of olive oil. It was just enough for him to share with restaurant chefs to wet their appetite for future harvests.
In a state known for peanut farmers and peach groves and Vidalia onions, the commercial production of olive oil is an attention grabber. Mr. Shaw has considered selling his first batch of oil for $100 a bottle. He eventually settled on $25 a bottle and has almost sold out of his liquid gold.
Mr Shaw was originally an insurance agent who became a freshman lawmaker in the state. Then two years ago, he started an olive oil business in southwest Georgia with his banker brother and a cousin who is the farmer of the family. His family has invested more than $250,000 in the venture thus far and as the olives become more abundant they expect to reap large profits in a few years.
The United States currently produces less than 0.1% of the world's olive oil. Most of what is produced comes from California, Texas and Arizona. In comparison, Greece, Italy and Spain produce almost three-fourths of the global supply of olive oil.