Don Cross

Nel­son Marl­bor­ough In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy hor­ti­cul­ture tu­tor

Marlborough Midweek - - Front Page -

The Marl­bor­ough RSA olive har­vest was held at the be­gin­ning of the month and pro­duced a good amount of fruit. How far along the pro­duc­tion process is the olive oil now? The oil is cur­rently sit­ting in bulk con­tain­ers and will be bot­tled and sold over the next few months. What qual­ity olive oil is pro­duced from these trees (on the banks of the Tay­lor River)? These trees pro­duce cold pressed ex­tra vir­gin olive oil – this means that oil is har­vested and pressed with no ad­di­tives added. It is a beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral olive oil. Is there any spe­cial at­ten­tion that they get dur­ing the year or are they largely left to do their own thing? The most im­por­tant part is the an­nual prune – this sets the trees up for the next year. Apart from that the grove is mowed reg­u­larly, weed sprayed when re­quired, and the for­est of suck­ers fol­low­ing prun­ing have to be con­stantly re­moved over the sum­mer. The pro­ceeds of the sale of the bot­tled oil will go to the RSA. How many litres are you hop­ing to make this year? This year the grove pro­duced around 1300 litres. There is still some oil left over from last year (olive oil has a two year shelf life), so a plan is be­ing de­vel­oped to mar­ket around 250 cases of olive oil. Pro­ceeds from the sale of this oil will go into the RSA Wel­fare Fund. How long have you been the hor­ti­cul­ture tu­tor at NMIT and what do you en­joy about the job? I have been a hor­ti­cul­ture tu­tor for NMIT for around four years. What re­ally ex­cites me is when I see the light­bulbs of un­der­stand­ing go on when stu­dents grasp a com­plex con­cept. How long have you lived in Marl­bor­ough and what is your favourite thing about the prov­ince? I ar­rived in Marl­bor­ough in 1971, ex­pect­ing to be here for about five years. My two favourite

things

about the prov­ince are the cli­mate and the people. Any hob­bies or sports you en­joy in your spare time? I love our gar­den – and en­joy get­ting the best out of it. We also have sea­son tick­ets for the Christchurch Sym­phony Orches­tra, which means reg­u­lar trips to Christchurch. And then there is al­ways some new project on the go or an idea to think about and de­velop. What’s your go- to home cooked meal when you need to cook tea in a rush? I do pre­fer a roast. But if time is the is­sue, mac­a­roni cheese fills the gap. Do you have a favourite band or mu­si­cian, and what do makes their mu­sic spe­cial to you? I love all types of mu­sic - whether at home or at work, I love back­ground mu­sic. A cou­ple of years ago I down­loaded our favourite mu­sic onto a MP3 player, and it’s in­ter­est­ing to watch people’s re­ac­tions as the mu­sic changes at ran­dom from Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Over­ture to Pan Flutes via the Ea­gles, The Theme from Star Wars, Richard Clay­der­man and Cat Stephens. What books are you cur­rently read­ing? We were up at the re­cy­cling de­pot re­cently, and I pur­chase two great books for 50c each –

by Lloyd Dou­glas which I found re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing and very thought pro­vok­ing, and

by Kather­ine Sav­age, which is a very easy read giv­ing an in­for­ma­tive de­scrip­tion of WWII in a time se­quence. Any words of wis­dom for the read­ers? One of my favourite phrases is from the 1980’s film Flash­dance – ‘‘ Take your pas­sion and make it hap­pen’’. One of my pas­sions, along with ed­u­ca­tion, is to en­cour­age plant­ing na­tive plants in line with Marl­bor­ough District Coun­cil’s Tui to Town ini­tia­tive. To pinch an idea from a friend and col­league of mine, I like help­ing people grow.

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