In January I had the opportunity to visit the Spanish Institute of Agriculture, in Cordoba, Spain. This is a government organisation of scientists who investigate olives. They are experts in growing olives and specialise in DNA coding olives to ensure varieties are pure. As you could imagine an amazing amount of knowledge held be this organisation and the people who work in it. Our Hosts Angela and Jarvier led us on a walk through the 'Olive Library'. A grove with 800 different varieties. I was like a kid in a toy shop as we browsed the different shapes and colours of olives. We've started investigating how to bring in some of these varieties for us to grow & produce different tasting olives. It is a long and expensive process just to get them into the country. Bio security is a serious threat to horticulture. The Olive Fly is one we know about, we do not have it in NZ, and do not want it! The Olive Fly is a bug that can devastate crops. It is a small larvae that eats into the fruit as it ripens. You can see olive fly larvae eating through the olive in this picture.
I will keep you posted on developments!
Here is a picture from today of Kalamata Olive tree 'H4' or 'Heddie' as Eddie its owner likes to call it. We are pleased to report that this tree is flourishing. You can see the new growth rising 600mm above the stump.
Eddie has chosen well!
The next picture is of F8, our 'slow starter'. Transplanted in October at the same time as the rest of the trees, this tree is the last to sprout. You can just see on the right hand side of the tree a small shoot - approx 20mm long.
This is especially pleasing as it means we had a 100% success rate with the transplanted trees.
With Harvest fast approaching (May) we are starting to asses how the olives are doing. Big change this year, I am measuring the olives and recording their size. This is to give a benchmark for future years as to where the olives are at. I hope to make better growing and harvest decisions as a result. The ultimate objective is to grow larger olives by changing the variables on the grove.
This picture show the Manzanillo tree at the Olivery. At 19mm it is a big fruit for this time of year. The average width is around 16mm.
Good tree health and a continuation of the good summer weather will help these olives size up in the next 8 weeks.
Eddie is our youngest olive tree adopter. His recent visit (Oct 2013) was soon after our transplanting of the Kalamata Olives. We tracked his tree from its old location to new. It has a new number (H4) and Eddie has appropriately named it 'Heddie'.
We gave Eddie the choice of new tree but he chose to stay with this one. Well done Eddie we like your loyalty!
We are pleased to report that 33 of the 34 transplanted trees are growing well with plenty of new growth. One has not sprouted yet, but we are remaining positive!
'Heddie' at 31 December 2014, some sprouts coming....
If your tree has moved we will let you know your new number with March packages.
Remember we have a product guarantee - we guarantee your products even in a bad year (and this will be a bad year for 'Heddie' & other transplanted olive trees)
All march packages will contain 6 pouches of yummy olives.
What's up on the grove?.
We've had one of the best springs for 25 years. It has been warm, regular rain and gentle winds. This has facilitated a fantastic fruit set on the trees. (Fruit set is a terms used for the conversion of flowers to fruit.) so things so far are looking good. The last couple of weeks have had some severe Hail storms in the Hawke's Bay. This has damaged some fruit crops. We have been lucky in that they have missed our olive groves.
The transplanted Kalamata Olives (right) are starting to grow with little shoots starting to come away. We are keeping up the water to these stumps, as they can very easily dry out.
The Villas grove (below) has now has two years of growth from the 'reset' prune we did. Here is the comparison pictures. We will get some fruit off these trees this year. But not from the tree the sheep have eaten! (front right of picture).
We recently came to work one morning and found a swarm of bees in an olive tree.
While it sounds like a nursery rhyme we weren't going near it. A quick call to local green urban living expert Janet Luke and the bees were re-homed to one of her 'top bar' hives.
These bees are now residing on the top deck of local pizza restaurant Pipi, in Havelock North
left: Adrienne keeping a respectful distance! right: Morag and Janet work out a plan.
Check the video to see Janet move the swarm.
Telegraph Hill extra virgin olive oil features in the new e-book Remarkable Recipes by international olive oil expert Judy Ridgway. It is used in the recipes for Feta and Olive Dip And for Telegraph Hill Fish and Chips. Judy remembers with nostalgia her very first visit to New Zealand when she stayed in a cottage on the estate and enjoyed an excellent dinner with Rose Gresson, then running the Telegraph Hill groves.
All 76 recipes in the book come from olive growers and olive oil producers around the world because, as Judy says, who knows more about cooking with extra virgin olive oil? “Some of the most interesting and delicious dishes I have ever eaten have been served at the tables of the olive growers and oil producers”, she comments.
The recipes are arranged in sections according to the time taken to prepare the dishes with great fast food dishes followed by quick and easy breakfasts, snacks and suppers as well as salads and cold dishes. Savoury dishes that take a little longer come next with a final section on baking with extra virgin olive oil. Some of the recipes are traditional, others are family favourites and yet others are modern creations from gifted cooks but one thing Judy is sure of is that they are all quite different to the recipes found in general cookbooks of the various regions.
The e-book is available in kindle form from Amazon and in a form suitable for iPads, tablets and the like from iTunes for iBookstore.
Time will tell whether this was a good decision or not. I've moved every second Kalamata tree to increase the space it has to grow, so that it will grow larger, produce more fruit and be happier!
First we had to chop the tops off them.
This ones ready to move. We labelled each one to keep track of the adopted trees.
Dig them up with a digger.
Plant them in pre dug holes.
Some water and this olive tree is ready to grow.
Unfortunately some didn't make it. This one we ring barked so we decided to chop off right at the base. It should still grow.
A fantastic day had by all. 2014 will be held early November again.
DJ Floyd set a lovely ambiance for the day with his 'soul food music' theme.
Jules Clarke painting live!
Olive Oil Massage...mmmmm
The amazing Rae West
Ricks Terstappen and Paddy Cooper both has amazing sculptures.
Royal Easter Show awards are announced with Telegraph Hill getting champion olives. We also picked up a silver medal for our Barnea Manzanillo Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Full list of winners are on the easter show website.