Freshfield Grove

Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil


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Tasmanian hand-carved olive wood spoons

If you hate waste then take a look at what a talented craftsman can make out of my wonky olive prunings!

Read more about them, and why you might need one HERE.

Photo credit: David Rauenbush @ Phoenix Creations https://www.instagram.com/phoenixcreationstas

 


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How to Cure Olives at Home – Part 2 – Ferment in Brine

In part 2 of this series I’m dealing with brine cured olives. 

If you want to read about water-curing olives, then go my previous post here.

This takes the longest of all the methods, but is also the easiest. The lack of contact time is a huge bonus for me, and although the months, and months, and months of waiting seem impossible at the start, if you hide them in the back of the pantry you’ll forget they’re there! Until, one day, you remember, and it feels as if someone’s given you a super special yummy gift! And if you do this every year, you’ll always have a supply of these little treats to hand anyway, so it won’t matter that the new batch can’t be touched!

Brine curing relies on a natural fermentation process. Basically, you put the freshly picked olives in an acidified brine solution which creates a selective environment Continue reading


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Pick Your Own Olives

We grow two varieties of olive in our grove in the Coal River Valley; Picual and Manzanillo. Both are Spanish varieties (which is why if you “Adopt An Olive Tree”, your tree will have a Spanish name!) They’re both happy in our cool climate, and they help to pollinate each other. Traditionally Picual is an oil variety, and Manzanillo is a table olive, but you can eat the Picuals, and press the Manzanillos. The Picual olives are smaller than the Manzanillos, and the two are slightly different shapes, with the Manzanillo being rounder – they look a bit like plump cherries when they turn black. (For more on green and black olives, read this previous post.) Manzanillos tend to have a higher moisture content too, which makes them harder to press into oil for technical reasons that I need to find out more about!

Can you spot the difference between Picual and Manzanillo from the photos below?

In the longer term, we’re planning to make table olives as part of our range of products, but at the moment we’re still getting on top of the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) side of things. I’m going to pick some of our Manzanillos to do a few preserving experiments with, but there’ll be lots left on the trees. So, we’ve decided to offer “Pick Your Own Olives” days at our olive grove in Campania. Dates will be announced towards the end of May, when we have a better idea of when they’ll be ripe, but it’s likely to be in early June this year. This time of year is always exciting in Tasmania, because the Dark Mofo winter festival is on around then, so there’s tons going on.

I’ll be writing more on how to cure olives in some following posts, but the basic principle is that the bitterness needs to be removed. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried biting into an olive straight off the tree, but it’s not a pleasant experience! This can be done using water-curing, brine-curing, or lye-curing (=caustic soda – yuk! Which is how most commercially available olives are produced because it’s very quick.)

If you’d like to be first in line to find out when our “Pick Your Own Olives” days are on, then watch this space, or sign up to my mailing list and I’ll send you an invite so you don’t miss out!

CLICK HERE to sign up to my mailing list.


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Adopt an Olive Tree

I’ve been working on this for a little while, and I’m excited to announce this new way for more people to get involved with our adventures. We’ve decided to put our trees up for adoption!

Each of our trees is unique, and so they each have their own name – Spanish of course since Picual and Manzanillo are both Spanish varieties!

We’ve got three different packages to suit every budget, and they would all make an amazing gift for food lovers 🙂

The packages include:

  • An emailed adoption certificate that you can print straight away (fab as a gift if you’ve left it ‘til the last minute!)
  • A digital photo of your tree, with his or her name.
  • A map image and a Google Earth placemark showing YOUR tree’s exact location in our grove, so you can really get a feel for where your tree lives.
  • A printed adoption certificate including a photograph of YOUR tree, sent by post.
  • We would love you to visit your tree here in Tasmania, and we’d be delighted to give you a tour of the grove on selected Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year. Just get in touch to let us know when you’d like to come.
  • Delivery of our next harvest of Extra Virgin Olive Oil delivered to your door!

All the details are on our special “Adopt a Tasmanian Olive Tree” website – click here to take a look.


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Christmas Wreath Workshop – 11 December

olive leaf Christmas wreath

Hello! Christmas is rapidly approaching and I know everyone is mega busy over the next few weeks, but I wanted to tell you about this workshop I’m organising to make Christmas wreaths out of olive leaves. It’s on Sunday 11th December, from 2-4pm at the olive grove (49 Tea Tree Road, Campania – just outside Richmond).

I want it to be an opportunity for a small group of like-minded people (probably gonna be all girls!) to have a bit of time out for themselves in this crazily busy time of year, make a beautiful and unique decoration for their home, and enjoy each other’s company. Along with a glass of Tasmanian wine from the lovely people at Wobbly Boot Vineyard!

I’ve teamed up with my friend Jo, who creates amazing floral arrangements, to bring her floristry expertise – an area in which I’m rather lacking! No prior experience is needed from you  🙂

The workshop will be held in a covered patio area. I’d recommend bringing closed shoes if you want to go for a walk in the grove (it’s, um, a bit overgrown in areas….) You may also want to bring a pair of gloves, as I discovered that floristry wire can be a bit vicious!.

We’ll provide all the foliage and equipment you need (olive leaves, wreath frame, floristry wire, wire cutters, ribbon for decoration, silver and gold spray paint.)

There are lots of other plants on the farm too – gums and gumnuts, wattles, lavender…..  and you’re welcome to go for a walk and forage for any other bits you fancy to really personalise your creation.

You may want to add other Christmas decorations you already have and love, so please feel free to bring these along!

This event is limited to six people, as we want to make it a really friendly and informal session. And it’s the only workshop we’re running this year. I’ve seen other wreath making workshops locally that are priced at $115, but we’ve decided to offer this for just $50 as we’re still learning about organising this sort of experience! This special price includes:

  • Refreshments:
    • A glass of Tasmanian wine (Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc from Wobbly Boot)
    • Cheese platter
    • Tea, coffee, and water.
  • All the foliage and floristry supplies listed above.
  • Us! Jo and I will be right by your side to show you the basics at the beginning, and to offer hands-on advice during the session.
  • Your very own handmade wreath to take home (value approx. $40)

If you like the sound of this, then click here to book and we’ll pick out an olive branch just for you!

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/olive-leaf-christmas-wreath-workshop-tickets-29506541861

If you can’t make it, but know someone else who might enjoy the experience, then please feel free to forward the details on to them.

And if you have any questions, please ask away! FFx


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Iced Olive Leaf Tea

iced tea olive leaf lemon mint tasmania

We’re coming into spring in Tassie, although with what looks like a dusting of snow on Mount Wellington again today and highs of 14degC with an icy wind, it’s not feeling as spring-like as it was yesterday!

Anyway, my mind is filling with thoughts of (hopefully!) warm sunny days ahead, and so I decided to use my olive leaf tea as a base to create an iced version. I tried a few combinations of ingredients, but my favourite is this unsweetened iced olive leaf tea with lemon and mint. The olive leaf tea provides a rich, complex base, while the mint and lemon give it a fabulous fresh lift. (You can add sugar to taste if you’ve got more of a sweet tooth!)

This method takes a little while, as I prefer to chill the tea in the fridge so it doesn’t get too diluted. If you’re in a hurry though, just throw in a few ice cubes!

This is great on a warm day, and would be a brilliant grown-up non-alcoholic drink for the party season.

Ingredients

  • 4 level teaspoons of olive leaf tea
  • Handful of mint leaves (I used about 8 large leaves)
  • Zest peeled from half a lemon.
  • Ice, more mint, and lemon slices to serve.

Method

  • Put the olive leaf tea and the mint leaves into a large cafetiere (mine takes a bit under a litre).
  • Boil the kettle.
  • Wait for a minute to allow the water to cool just a touch, then fill the cafetiere and stir before putting the lid on.
  • Allow to infuse for four minutes, then plunge and pour the tea into a bowl or jug suitable to go in the fridge, leaving the tea leaves and mint in the cafetiere.
  • Add the lemon zest.
  • Cover, allow to cool for a while, then place in the fridge until chilled.
  • Serve over ice with fresh slices of lemon and gently muddled mint. (If you don’t know what muddling is, it’s a fancy term for crushing gently – read about how to do it here!)
  • Relax, and take a moment to be mindful, while you enjoy the fruits of your labour 🙂

Video tour of pruning in our olive grove

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I’d had an idea for a blog post for this week, but then I was outside pruning, and decided I’d try filming a short video on my iPhone to show you instead! The weather was beautiful today, chilly at only 4degC, but after yesterday where we had storms and snow, it was a great improvement. I didn’t think to take my safety glasses off (these olive trees can be vicious!) so sorry about the glare from them! Hope you enjoy this 🙂 FFx