Freshfield Grove

Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil


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Interview – Tasmanian Country Hour – 28 June 2017

I get so excited about olives and olive oil, and I love opportunities to share this, so I was thrilled to have Nick Bosley-Pask from ABC Radio Hobart visit again last week.  I was even more excited when I paused for lunch a couple of days later to hear myself on the Tasmanian Country Hour show! I find doing that sort of stuff pretty nerve-wracking, but I try to think of it just as a one-on-one conversation, so I don’t freak out!

I’ve attached my segment here so do listen to find out more about the harvest timing, modern olive pressing, how it feels to wait for the first oil to flow out of the press, and my experience of hiring casual employees.

 

 

Do get in touch if you’ve got any questions about anything discussed. I’d love to hear from you 🙂 FFx

 


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It’s a Dog’s Life

We found it a bit difficult to get back into our office based jobs, and I’m not sure the dogs knew what was going on either! Although, to be honest, I think they’re mostly just happy to be with us. They were a bit bewildered by the farm the first few days we were there, they’re used to a more suburban environment than rural Tasmania, and everything was very different from our usual routine. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend with them doing just dog stuff, but they enjoyed our regular walks around the olive grove, relaxing while we worked, and all the cool smells. Blizzard even ran around a bit, not usual for her at all! Although she did spend a lot of time sitting in the sun, or in her favourite armchair. Gunner, as usual, was more proactive about checking things out, but we did find him hiding out in the comfort of the van when he got the chance, rather than lying on the ground. He proved to be very good at collecting buzzies in his beard while he was looking for fieldmice.  And at the end of the day, they loved sitting out by the fire, hoping that the BBQ gods would drop a few sausages on the floor… FFx


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Olive Harvest Wrap-up

Lots of people have asked how we got on with our first olive harvest, and I thought it was about time I got a post together about it. We’ve been so busy with our regular jobs since we finished harvesting and pressing that there hasn’t really been time to sit down and think about it. We can’t wait until the farm is our regular job, but that’s still some way off. It’s kind of frustrating, because there are soooo many things we want to do with the place, but while we’re not able to live there full time we’re fairly limited. We do appreciate though that we are incredibly lucky to have found this farm, which we love so much already, and that we’ve been able to get this far with it. So although as a generation we’re not known for our patience, it’s something we’ll have to accept!

Is there gold at the end of this rainbow?

Is there gold at the end of this rainbow?

So, olive harvesting. And pressing. We knew it was going to be a challenge, and we’d done everything we could to prepare for it, but wow! Easily the steepest learning curve I’ve been on since graduating and that first day at work. I tend to beat myself up about things, and I keep thinking we could have done more, but really I know that we did as much as we could in the time we had. Both in terms of pre-harvest prep, and while we were there.

Us hard at work on a day with a chilly wind.

Us hard at work on a day with a chilly wind.

The most important thing to us at the moment is that we enjoyed every minute. We were exhausted pretty much all the time, but with smiles on our faces. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather, which was very mild for the time of year. We’d taken thermals and loads of layers (and hats, gloves, and scarves) but many days we didn’t need them. I never dreamt I’d be harvesting olives in Tasmania, in winter, in a T-shirt!

We loved being outside in the clear, fresh Tasmanian air, with fabulous views of the Coal River Valley all around us, and blue skies above. And at night the stars were amazing, with a big splash of Milky Way.

The last sun of the day hitting the hills beyond the olive grove.

The last sun of the day hitting the hills beyond the olive grove.

The olive trees are beautiful, even though ours are young, and not the ancient knarled, knotted, twisted ones. There’s something meditative about picking by hand. Just concentrating on the job and hearing the birds twittering, and the neighboring lambs baa-ing. Or chatting and catching up with the wonderful friends and family who came to help out. Not only did they come and pick olives, they brought us food, invited us round for dinner, helped us figure out the press, admired the farm, and didn’t ever tell us they thought we were insane.

We only picked a fraction of the olives in the grove. Once we realised what sort of proportion we were going to get around we concentrated on the fruit which was easiest to get to, and left the stuff which was too high. We managed to get the press working, although it took me about an hour to work out how to plug it in and turn it on! We were very, very excited when oil first flowed out, on what turned out to be a rather late night as everything obviously took longer than expected…

Picual olives waiting to go into the press.

Picual olives waiting to go into the press.

Well, this post has got longer than I’d planned, and I haven’t really got very far in telling you about anything! But I need to get back to doing some boring paperwork type stuff, so I’ll write more in coming posts about what we did, and what we want to do over the next twelve months. And if there’s anything you’d like to know, please ask. For now I’ll leave you with a picture of our pungent and peppery extra virgin olive oil 🙂 FFx

EVOO flowing (ok, maybe trickling is more accurate) out of our press.

EVOO flowing (ok, maybe trickling is more accurate) out of our press.


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FREE – Pick your own olives

Would you like to cure your own olives? Come to the beautiful Tasmanian Coal River Valley and pick your own olives to take home. We’re open for picking from today until Saturday 5th July, 2014.

Our Manzanillos are planted every eighth tree throughout the grove as pollinators for the Picual. Manzanillos can be pressed for oil, but they’re traditionally a table olive and their higher moisture content makes oil extraction more difficult, so we’re not picking them ourselves this year.

Contact us using the contact form for more details and directions, and to make sure we’re here before you visit. FFx

Manzanillo olives

Manzanillo olives

Our first days of olive harvesting

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We started our first olive harvest down here in Tasmania on Sunday. We were blessed with good weather and the help and company of friends, family, and neighbours. The day ended with our olives going through our press and yielding extra virgin olive oil! It was a steep learning curve but we went to bed tired and happy.

I aim to get more photos and a longer post on her soon, but am also posting on twitter and Facebook, so please have a look there if you’re into those social media! (Links on the right of this site.) I’m struggling with mobile blogging a bit… FFx