Our family run grove is established on 1.5 hectares of land on gentle north facing slopes which lead down to a perpetual stream and lake. The flock of geese, together with ducks and pukekos live comfortably amongst the willows and alders on the water's edge.
Our soil is predominantly clay loam which contributes well to producing a full flavoured fruit Some of the best quality oils are grown on clay soils, which retain higher nutrient and cat-ion levels than the sandy, stony soils of those thought to be the typical environment for olive trees to thrive in.
We grow three main varieties of olive trees. These are Koroneiki (Greek) Frantoio (Italian) and Picual (Spanish). A few Pendolino are also grown.
Our desire to minimise the use of herbicides and fungicides has led us to utilise organic practices with the use of organic fertilisers and to weed eat around the trees.
Careful pruning of the trees takes place throughout the year.
Hand harvesting occurs at the end of May and early June each year and our fruit is cold pressed locally within a few hours of harvest.
When you taste our olive oil, look for characteristics of freshness such as fruitiness, pepper and pungency. Our oil tends to have green and grassy overtones with a distinct fruitiness. It is not at all like the olive oil on supermarket shelves which is generally a refined product blended from many sources and lacking in character.
Olive oil is best when it is fresh. Unlike wine it does not improve with time and should be consumed within two years of pressing. The labels on our bottles advise when you should have used the oil by.
All our oil is “cold pressed” extra virgin olive oil. This means that the oil is extracted from the pressed olives without heating or refining. Heating or refining enables more oil to be extracted but degrades the quality of the oil. In New Zealand, much like in the wine industry here, we can only compete on quality; so the focus is on producing the best oils possible.
Internationally extra virgin olive oil must have a free acidity level, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams (0.8%) and other characteristics must correspond to those set for this category. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries. New Zealand has adopted higher standards and our oleic acid level must be less than 0.5% and have a peroxide level of less than 20.
Our oils have consistently met these ONZ standards over successive years. The tests to establish the levels of these characteristics are carried out independently, in this case by the Oil Testing Laboratory, Department of Primmary Industries, NSW, Australia.
The reason our bottles have a red sticker (a seal) on them is to show that the oil has been tested and tasted independently and has been certified by Olives New Zealand as having met the highest quality standards.