Pre­par­ing to put olives on the ta­ble

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

ROGER HAN­SON A COU­PLE work­ing to­wards a self-suf­fi­cient life­style is at the fore­front of Tas­ma­nia’s emerg­ing ta­ble-olive sec­tor.

Only a hand­ful of the state’s 60 olive grow­ers pro­duce ta­ble olives. Tas­ma­nian grow­ers man­age about 120,000 trees, pro­duc­ing more than 126 tonnes of olives a year and in a good sea­son press­ing about 23,000 litres of olive oil.

Fiona Makowski, a doc­tor, and her hus­band, Glenn, hope to soon of­fer for sale a range of their ta­ble olives.

On 3ha of Fresh­field Grove, near Cam­pa­nia, they grow two Span­ish va­ri­eties, Picual and Man­zanillo, both suited to the cool cli­mate of the Coal River Val­ley.

“Of the 1000 olive trees we have, one in eight are Man­zanillo, which we are us­ing for ta­ble olives,” Dr Makowski said.

“It was dif­fi­cult to get a fruit that is re­ally big. The Man­zanillo is a big va­ri­ety and a pop­u­lar ta­ble olive.

“The ta­ble olive is cured with a slow fer­men­ta­tion process to add flavour.”

Dr Makowski is also con­sid­er­ing small batches of olive-leaf tea.

An­other in­no­va­tion she is pon­der­ing is us­ing sheep in grove man­age­ment.

Their olive-oil pro­duc­tion was dec­i­mated this sea­son.

Hot weather in Novem­ber brought out flow­ers early on the trees and then a storm knocked them out be­fore they had a chance to pol­li­nate.

Fresh­field Grove has re­ceived a Sprout Tas­ma­nia schol­ar­ship in the pro­ducer pro­gram for small farms.

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