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The human body has inspired plenty of art, usually depicting a traditional view of beauty. Our bodies are amazing as well as beautiful though, and there are lots of functions which we don’t readily consider when we think about art. You may have heard of MONA? The Museum of Old and New Art, in Tasmania. Within an architecturally amazing structure, dug deep down into the limestone, is an equally amazing collection of art. Old and new, as the name suggests. The contemporary stuff is brilliant. I often find modern art rather pointless, but this collection is emotive and provides plenty to think about, although some of it I admit I don’t really like. My first visit was the day after a BIG house-warming party. I thought perhaps the disorientation was due to the late night, but subsequent visits reveal this to be standard. For me anyway! There’s an exhibit there called “Cloaca” by Wim Delvoye. It’s a large installation that simulates the entire digestive tract, including the olfactory aspects! The artist’s website is pretty unique too; I thought I’d clicked on a fake link when the page loaded.

The production of extra virgin olive oil also results in a by-product. It’s called olive pomace, and it’s the first thing to come out of the press, before the oil starts. Those ten minutes or so between the pomace outflow starting and the oil are pretty nail-biting! We found the pomace unexpectedly entertaining though. It’s arguably less artistic than a MONA exhibit, but it’s like our own mini cloaca. And it’s much pleasanter to be surrounded by the aroma of freshly pressed olives, than that of the real Cloaca!

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There’s a lot of pomace produced in the olive industry. EVOO is only about 10-20% by weight of the olive fruit submitted for pressing, so there’s a lot of pomace to dispose of. Some is used in the production of lower grades of oil. This is extracted using very high temperatures and solvents and then deodorised, resulting in an oil with none of the flavour or health benefits of EVOO. This should be labelled as olive-pomace oil – don’t be fooled into thinking it’s extra virgin! (There’s a good diagram and explanation of olive oil grades here, on the Australian Olive Association website.) Pomace is also used for a variety of other applications including animal feeds and composting, and this is what we aim to do with ours. The end product of “Cloaca” is sold by the artist, but sadly I don’t think little nuggets of olive pomace will command the same value! FFx

Olive pomace

Gallons of olive pomace…