GRINDELWALD’S good soil and climate were contributing factors to Village Olive Grove producing the state’s best olive oil.
Recognised at the Australian International Olive Awards with a gold medal and trophy for best extra virgin olive oil in Tasmania, Village Olive Grove owners Allen and Barbara Baird are toasting their success with a golden drop.
Set on two-and-half-hectares, the Bairds tend 830 Frantoio trees, which are popular for olive oil production in Italy and are well suited to the Tamar Valley’s cool climate.
They established the grove 12 years ago and have been enjoying building on successes during the past few years, Mr Baird said.
“The Australian International Olive Awards are the benchmark for lives and olive oil in Australia,” Mr Baird said.
“We got a bronze medal [at these awards] in 2014 and 2015, silver in 2016 and now gold.
“Tasmanian olive oil has consistently won awards over the years because of the cool climate conditions,” he said.
Village Olive Grove’s olive oil has also won silver and bronze medals at the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards.
Besides the good soil, rainfall and management practices, Mr Baird credits Tasmania’s climate for producing high quality olives.
“The olives ripe slowly and over a longer period in Tasmania’s cool climate, so they have a more robust flavour than [olives grown] in hotter climates,” Mr Baird said.
“We pick the olives at the right time, press locally at Exeter and make sure we get the fruit to the press quickly so it is processed well and stored well.
“Olive oil is a very healthy, nutritious and delicious product,” he said.
Village Olive Grove, along with Lentara Grove at Exeter, will be open as part of the Farmgate Festival next month, with visitors invited to visit the olive groves.
Tasmanian Olive Council president Christine Mann said the 2017 event was very successful, with medals awarded to 87 per cent of the 222 oils.
Tamanian olive producers were awarded 20 medals: three gold, eight silver and nine bronze.
The other gold medal winners were Cradle Coast Olives at Abbotsham and Lentara Grove.
“Great extra virgin olive doesn’t just happen, it takes care and best practice from the grove to the bottle. This year, with delayed ripening experienced across Tasmania, it also took a lot of patience,” Ms Mann said.
“Tasmanian extra virgin olive oil continues to thrive in the Tasmanian cool climate and Tasmanian consumers should keep their eyes open for this season’s fresh produce,” she said.
- This story first appeared on The Examiner.