David and Bridget’s olive orchard, with a demo of olive pressing.
“We bought “Grove Hill Olives” when we returned to NZ 3½ years ago.
Having taken early retirement from a life of education we wanted
something that would allow us to work outdoors, but not tie us down to any
regular schedule. The house and setting were ideal – olives were a bonus,
even though we knew nothing about them.
The previous owner recommended that we join ‘Olivetti’ the Northland
olive growers organization and through this we have learned a great deal.
David is now treasurer of the organization, wanting to give something back
for all we have benefited.
Our grove consists of approx. 200 trees and has five different varieties,
some proving better than others. It has needed fairly heavy pruning since
we arrived and this is ongoing as we attempt to shape the trees to maximize
fruiting, while keeping picking as easy as possible.
Last year we had a small press-room built and bought an ‘Aquarius’ manual
press. This means that we are able to pick and press in smaller quantities as
the fruit ripens, rather than having to pick a large amount of fruit and travel
to a commercial press.
Assuming that the fruit ripens as usual we will be able to demonstrate
pressing on the day and there will be the opportunity to taste really fresh oil.
All the work on our steep grove is done manually, but the long-term plan is
to train our two donkeys to carry panniers full of olives. As yet we have
been unable to find panniers at a reasonable price, but the donkeys are keen
– especially to eat the trees!”
When: 11:00 am, 26th April
Where: Ross Road, Parua bay.