Australia is experiencing an olive boom, according to the Agricultural Census for 2015/16.
The data released on July 7 revealed a 55 per cent increase in the production volume of olives from 2014/15; a total volume of 75,084 tonnes, with many growers based in the Riverina.
Bruce Spinks from Wollundry Grove Olives said the positive statistic rang true for his orchard. His most recent olive harvest yielded a huge 73 tonnes on last year’s 36.
He attributed the overall growth in production to favourable weather conditions and the establishment of new groves around the region.
“In 2016 we had a wet winter fill up the sub-soils, this was coming out of an exceptionally dry year,” he said.
He was also somewhat apprehensive given the current rainfall outlook, predicting a greater reliance on watering due to dryer conditions.
Margie Carter from Parafield Olives said her business had grown exponentially over the past two years, producing 40 tonne yields in both 2015 and 2016.
Her 6000 Kalamata trees had “taken off” since she was picking just two tonnes in the early 2000s.
She put the nationwide boom down to olive trees’ drought resistance, but also thought greater demand had an impact.
“There’s been a change in people’s cooking, olive oil used to just be something you’d massage on a baby’s back,” Ms Carter said.
She said supermarkets had been forced to source quality products to meet demand, helping growers.
“It has to be fresh and it has to be the real thing,” Ms Carter said.