We’re often asked about the type of olives we’re going to grow, and in particular which colour they’ll be. The colour of many types of fruit is determined by the variety. Think of apples – green Granny Smiths, red Red Delicious, and golden Golden Delicious. Olives though, start off green and turn black as they ripen.
They go through a fabulous range of colours from bright greens to purples and black. I have a bit of an obsession with the colour purple, so these are my favourites! There’s variation in the flavour of oils depending on when they’re picked (other factors include olive variety and climate). Not surprising when you remember that extra virgin olive oil is fruit juice, and the flavour isn’t modified by the high heats and chemical extraction processes used for other vegetable oils. Early season oils tend to smell grassier and taste more peppery, while the later ones are usually milder. A few producers actually have a range of different oils to capitalise on this. In Australia, Cobram Estate produce an early harvest oil, and in the UK you can find early and mid season Greek oils from Oliveology.
Our Picual are a fairly late ripening variety, and with the cool climate of Tasmania we plan to harvest in June, by which time we think there’ll be a mixture of green and black olives on the trees. FFx