Freshfield Grove

Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil

Olive Harvest Wrap-up

16 Comments

Lots of people have asked how we got on with our first olive harvest, and I thought it was about time I got a post together about it. We’ve been so busy with our regular jobs since we finished harvesting and pressing that there hasn’t really been time to sit down and think about it. We can’t wait until the farm is our regular job, but that’s still some way off. It’s kind of frustrating, because there are soooo many things we want to do with the place, but while we’re not able to live there full time we’re fairly limited. We do appreciate though that we are incredibly lucky to have found this farm, which we love so much already, and that we’ve been able to get this far with it. So although as a generation we’re not known for our patience, it’s something we’ll have to accept!

Is there gold at the end of this rainbow?

Is there gold at the end of this rainbow?

So, olive harvesting. And pressing. We knew it was going to be a challenge, and we’d done everything we could to prepare for it, but wow! Easily the steepest learning curve I’ve been on since graduating and that first day at work. I tend to beat myself up about things, and I keep thinking we could have done more, but really I know that we did as much as we could in the time we had. Both in terms of pre-harvest prep, and while we were there.

Us hard at work on a day with a chilly wind.

Us hard at work on a day with a chilly wind.

The most important thing to us at the moment is that we enjoyed every minute. We were exhausted pretty much all the time, but with smiles on our faces. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather, which was very mild for the time of year. We’d taken thermals and loads of layers (and hats, gloves, and scarves) but many days we didn’t need them. I never dreamt I’d be harvesting olives in Tasmania, in winter, in a T-shirt!

We loved being outside in the clear, fresh Tasmanian air, with fabulous views of the Coal River Valley all around us, and blue skies above. And at night the stars were amazing, with a big splash of Milky Way.

The last sun of the day hitting the hills beyond the olive grove.

The last sun of the day hitting the hills beyond the olive grove.

The olive trees are beautiful, even though ours are young, and not the ancient knarled, knotted, twisted ones. There’s something meditative about picking by hand. Just concentrating on the job and hearing the birds twittering, and the neighboring lambs baa-ing. Or chatting and catching up with the wonderful friends and family who came to help out. Not only did they come and pick olives, they brought us food, invited us round for dinner, helped us figure out the press, admired the farm, and didn’t ever tell us they thought we were insane.

We only picked a fraction of the olives in the grove. Once we realised what sort of proportion we were going to get around we concentrated on the fruit which was easiest to get to, and left the stuff which was too high. We managed to get the press working, although it took me about an hour to work out how to plug it in and turn it on! We were very, very excited when oil first flowed out, on what turned out to be a rather late night as everything obviously took longer than expected…

Picual olives waiting to go into the press.

Picual olives waiting to go into the press.

Well, this post has got longer than I’d planned, and I haven’t really got very far in telling you about anything! But I need to get back to doing some boring paperwork type stuff, so I’ll write more in coming posts about what we did, and what we want to do over the next twelve months. And if there’s anything you’d like to know, please ask. For now I’ll leave you with a picture of our pungent and peppery extra virgin olive oil 🙂 FFx

EVOO flowing (ok, maybe trickling is more accurate) out of our press.

EVOO flowing (ok, maybe trickling is more accurate) out of our press.

Author: FarmerFi

I'm a British doctor who married an Aussie, moved to Tasmania, and bought an olive grove. Now making extra virgin olive oil and olive leaf tea. I'd love you to join my adventures in the beautiful setting of Southern Tasmania.

16 thoughts on “Olive Harvest Wrap-up

  1. My younger sister lives in Tassie – but on the other side of Hobart from you guys. She never stops singing its praises; and I must say it is somewhere I wish to all the gods my husband and I had been to.
    Most important question: one presumes you plan to sell your evoo – is one right ?
    [grin]

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    • Tassie is beautiful. My husband is from there, and luckily I fell in love with it at first sight too! Love the slower pace, and the food and drink, and the art and craft stuff, and the landscapes…

      One is quite correct – we do plan to sell our EVOO! It will be in pretty small quantities this year, as everything is rather, um, experimental… But once it’s had time to settle, we will be bottling and then selling, probably around Sydney and Hobart. We think it tastes pretty good! Tassie oils tend to be on the pungent side 🙂

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  2. How exciting!! Does it taste good?

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    • Tastes fab! I suppose we may be a little biased, but we’re thrilled with it… Fresh EVOO is an amazing thing 🙂

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      • Good luck with it, I really hope you have great success… you will all have beautiful hair and skin because of your lovely product!
        Where abouts in Tasmania are you… we are hoping to visit in a couple of years time and I’m gathering places to put on an itinerary!

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      • We’re in Campania which is in the Coal River Valley region, close to Hobart and the airport. Richmond is a lovely local town just a few minutes down the road, which has the distinction of having the oldest bridge in Australia. And an excellent pie shop. There are an abundance of wineries within a stone’s throw too, and a variety of other foodie goodies. There are many, many places in Tasmania worthy of being on your itinerary, I still haven’t managed to get to lots of them!

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      • Then you must definitely be on our list… a pie shop? Just the right thing for my husband!! Wine? He can eat pies and drive, I’ll drink the wine! I have seen pictures of the bridge, it looks charming. Do you have different sorts of olive oil? There is an olive oil shop in Bristol our nearest big city, and I go and buy litres of it every time we’re up there. I think it is made from Greek olives… there is such a difference in different oils, isn’t there? Looking forward to trying Tasmanian olive oil, it must be the best!!!

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      • We’re just doing the Picual EVOO at the moment. There are quite a few groves in Tas though, with a range of olive varieties. And yes, I agree, Tassie oil is the best!

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  3. Congratulations on your first harvest and finished product. I’m sure this venture will be very successful and satisfying.

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  4. How exciting! Congratulations on a successful harvest. What a beautiful spot you have. I predict you will sell out of your olive oil quickly 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Chicken Wings and Cast Iron | freshfieldgrove

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