Hill Country Gold

“I  keep a bottle of olive oil on my table the way other people keep ketchup,” says Jack Peters of Bella Vista Ranch. In fact, he even drinks it straight, and claims that two ounces of the Mediterranean liquor of life work on the body like a dose of ibuprofen… if ibuprofen came with culinary kicks.

Having run the olive orchard as part of the Wimberley ranch for more than 10 years, Jack has a multitude of ways to justify his love for olive oil—including a blinding passion for homemade bruschetta. But, until recently, any olives he pressed had to be blended with other crops from Arizona and California. In true old-world fashion, it’s taken a decade for the 1,000 Bella Vista olive trees to mature enough to produce a 100 percent Texan oil.

“To my knowledge,” Jack says, “it hasn’t been done before.”

Could he pick his new creation out of a taste-test lineup? Absolutely.

 “Young orchards have a grassier, cut-leaf flavor, and all Texas olive orchards are young,” he says. “Italian oils are fruitier, and Greek olive oil is VERY fruity.”

 Want to know more? Come for a tasting, he says. “I take people through a three-step process. If you’re into food, this is important stuff to know.”

 If you’re into local food, tasting the first true Texas olive oil may be your civic duty, and one of the more pleasant ones.

“I love it for finishing a pasta,” Jack suggests. “Or with eggs. About the only thing I don’t pour my oil on is pancakes.”

3101 Mt. Sharp Road, Wimberley. 512-847-6514. bvranch.com .