Preparing to put olives on the table
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.