The Fields are Alive: A Q&A with Hal Teegarden, Vice President of Agriculture at California Olive Ranch

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Today, we extend a warm welcome to Hal Teegarden who joined the California Olive Ranch team as Vice President of Agriculture in February. Hal grew up in the same county as George Clooney so it’s no surprise that he’s also achieved global success, though Hal’s “stage” is the orchards where the olives thrive. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Agriculture, Hal embarked on a thirty-year career in agriculture operations applying his specialized knowledge of sustainable agriculture, seed production, and team building to help companies rise to the top. He took time between field visits for a quick chat and, as you’ll see, his enthusiasm for the work really shines through.

You began as Vice President of Agriculture at California Olive Ranch in February. How’s it going?

Great! The organization is on the move and for me coming in, the learning curve is pretty steep, but everyone in the organization has been very supportive and more than willing to share experiences. In particular, the folks that make up the Ag. Team. I’m fortunate to be able to work with such a great group of folks

Did you grow up on a farm or did you arrive at agriculture later in life?

I’ve been involved in agriculture all of my life. I grew up in the northeastern part of Kentucky, a little town called Germantown. I never dreamed growing up that I’d be afforded the opportunities I have to experience and be involved in agriculture on such a global scale. Hopefully, I can share some of what I’ve learned around the world to help my team and our organization continue to grow.

What’s it like out in the California Olive Ranch fields right now?  We heard the olives are beginning to fruit.

It’s hot! No, but seriously, the crop is coming along quite nicely. At this point in the season, maybe a little ahead in terms of development, when compared to previous years. We’re setting up for a great crop.

What is something of interest about the growing practices at California Olive Ranch that our readers might not know about?

Maybe the extent to which we focus on the implementation of good agriculture practices. And how much time we spend to ensure that we consistently deliver the highest quality—and the right fruit— to our mill.

And finally, do you have a favorite California Ranch Olive oil in your kitchen?

You bet! Everyday California EVOO. My wife Lisa and I use it on just about everything.