Believe it or not, olives are grown in Tasmania. You may think it’s too cold to grow them here, but obviously not! Recently I paid a visit to Cradle Coast Olives, a local grower not far from where I live in the north west region of Tasmania, to have a look at how they grow, harvest and produce their product.
There’s around 150,000 olive trees planted in Tasmania and the average olive grove has approximately 700 trees. According to the experts, olives grown in Tasmania benefit from the cool, temperate climate as the long cool days make the fruit ripen slowly. This means the fruit stays on the tree longer, which in turn produces intensely flavoured fruit with better-quality taste and texture. Although Tassie’s cool climate makes for lower yields of fruit, the outcome is a more wholesome and stronger flavoured oil.
Carol and Tony O’Neil: Ulverstone
Cradle Coast Olives is a family business with a true hands-on approach. Owned and run by Carol and Tony O’Neil, it’s situated at Abbotsham just inland from Ulverstone. Three generations of the O’Neil family work together to help produce their award winning extra virgin olive oils.
The O’Neil family planted their first olive trees around thirteen years ago. The varieties grown on the farm are the Spanish Sevillano and Manzanillo; Italian variety Paragon; French variety Verdale and a hybrid variety, Californian Queen. All these varieties grow perfectly in the cool climate and rich red soils of the north west area.
Clean & Clear: Cold-Pressed Olive Oils
The colour of oil from these varieties of olives varies from yellow to bright green. Hand harvesting is carried out in winter and then cold pressing techniques are used to produce the oil. Hygiene is an important part of the procedure and every day an olive press is used, it gets pulled apart and sterilized.
It was interesting to see the journey the olives go through before they end up as bottled oil. The olives are picked from the trees and transferred into big crates, then taken to the processing room. Once pressed, the finished product (fresh green oil) is poured out into buckets.
Intense Flavour: Let the Sun Shine In!
The olive trees are hand-pruned each year to let as much sunlight as possible reach the fruit, which makes tastier oil. Olive trees are shallow rooted and if they are not pruned adequately they have a tendency to blow over.
Cradle Coast Olives Extra Virgin Olive Oil has won many awards over the years both here in Tasmania and nationally.
- Best Oil of Class
- Best Oil of Show
- Best Tasmanian Olive Oil
- Numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals
- the coveted Carol L’Heureux Perpetual Trophy for Best Australian Olive Oil
Shopping for Tasmanian Olive Oil
Cellar door sales and free tastings are available Sunday to Friday (although it’s best to phone ahead to make sure there’s someone on site). You can view the olive oil press which operates from May to July and enjoy a walk through the olive grove. Buying Cradle Coast Olive Oil is easy! You can either order online or buy the oils at delis, fine food stores or directly from the cellar door.
Cradle Coast Olives Oils are guaranteed to be 100% grown and pressed onsite. The oil has a lovely clean taste and a great colour. Wonderful fresh Tasmanian olive oil… grown, processed and bottled all here at Cradle Coast Olives. If you are visiting Tassie, why not take some home? It would make a great gift for someone, including yourself! And we all know, there’s nothing better than fresh Tasmanian produce.
You can visit Cradle Coast Olives at ‘Ark Rest’, 574 Castra Road, Abbotsham Tasmania. Phone ahead on (03) 6425 3449 or mobile 0409 658 118 or email Cradle Coast Olives. You can also visit the Cradle Coast Olives website for more information.
Michelle Kneipp Pegler writes a blog called Leven River Farm as well as articles like this about the north west coast region of Tasmania. If you’d like Michelle to visit you, please contact Think Tasmania.