In the 6th May 2011 addition of the island news, Flinders Island. Gus talks to Jude Cazaly and Mary-Anne Roberts about their invision coming to life of growing olives and making olive oil.
The New Entrepreneurs.
If you need a push or a shove to get your dream moving, that idea that’s lurking in the back of your head – well, it doesn’t take much just a good plan, persistance and the confidence to know it will be worth the effort in the end.
Take Jude Cazaly and Mary-Anne Roberts. They came to live at Killiecrankie just 10 years back and the following year they took a big punt and planted 1’200 olive trees on 3.5 hectares of dirt. They picker two varieties for oil production – Leccino, Frantoio. The main things they had to chack were- soil conditions, water availability, weather and wildlife. The sandy loam soil needed a boost so they managed to increase the pH to 6.7 – 7.1; after preparing 2 dams and starting to irrigate the water turned out to be to salty, however, the trees adjusted and got on with the job. Wind was a different story so she-oaks and hay bales were placed to form wond breaks.
Enter the wallabies!! Our intrepid produce farmers started on very steep learing curve to become good fences- after they had run enough wire and posts around the 3.5 hectares they switched on the power and haven’t sen one of the critters since. Then there were the parrots and other fine feathered friends- not to be beaten the ‘intrepids’ draped the trees with tin foil streamers (a bit like Xmas) and to date all is well.
The olives are grown organically which means strict control and certification but produces ‘clean green’ produce. Planted in the north/south rows for max sunshine with 4m between trees and 7m row to row there is plenty of room for machinery and harvesting – BY HAND! Weeds are always a problem particularly Climbing Lignum which wnds itself around tree branches planning to strangle it unless swift action is taken to unwind the ‘tenticles’.
Olive trees being olive trees they produce a major crop every other year the ‘down’ year is much less so Jude and Mary-Anne need their wits about them to make sure half the crop is always ‘awake’ while the other is ‘sleeping’.
Next month and after eight years waiting the srop will be harvested ‘for real’ and around 400kg of fruit will be ready for the first pressing. Sitting quietly in the new pressing room is a glistening stainless steel machine recently arrived from one of the worlds growing countries of the world, Italy. It can handle 50kg/hr of fresh picked fruit for as long as you want.
This is how it Works —
Step 1 – Tip in 50kg of fresh olives
Step 2 – Flesh and pips are ground together
Step 3- Pulp is formed and gently mixed
Step 4- A film of oil forms on the surface
Step 5- Pulp and oil pass into a spinning centrifuge
Step 6- Pure oli is seperated from the waste and collected
Volia! Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The oil then sits for 2 months before it’s bottled and ready for your table. That means it will be available in Aug/Sep at the ‘farm door’.
By the way you often hear your TV Chef recommending “extra virgin olive oil” – “Whats the difference”, you may ask. Well, according to those who know “95% of australian olive oils are extra virgin olive oil, which retain sterols, pigments, tocopherols and other phenolic compounds beneficial for yor health”.
Did you get that? Well, put another way the fruit must be pressed just once straight after picking, must be free of any aroma of taste defects measured as a free fatty acid level of less than 0.8% and never includes refined oil.
If you’ve been inspied by these entrepreneurs then give Jude or Mary-Anne a call on Tel. 63598464 and arrange a visit – Its well worth the trip.