Olivery News

Day 14 Update: Havelock North town water supply Campylobacter infection.  August 26, 2016 16:57


Whats still happening?

The boil water notice remains in place.  This infection has had a massive impact on a small community.  There are many emergency organisations involved in helping the public to get and stay healthy. Red Cross, Rapid Disaster Relief and Age Concern are all visible in our community.  Water has become the new currency

Ongoing preventative measures:

We are still taking prudent steps to ensure product safety. We can confirm that our products are safe to eat.

  1. We are a separate water system to the affected Havelock North supply.
  2. This separate system is a bore water, from our own well.  We are regularly testing this water, and will continue to regularly test until we know more information.  Tests so far have all been clear. 
  3. To make sure our products are safe, we keep all manufactured product on hold in our warehouse until the clear result is received.
  4. We will continue this cycle of holding product, testing the water, and releasing it, until we have clarity from the Hastings District Council on the healthiness of every bore in Hastings.

What can you do?

Don’t let this happen in your area.  Be mindful of this event where we humans have poisoned ourselves by keeping our head in the sand and ignoring the environment. 

I encourage you to go a little green, take one small step (Neil Armstrong!) to care more for your environment, and keep what we have for years to come.  We certainly will be in Hawke’s Bay.

And to help struggling families in Hawke’s Bay?  Right now the sickness levels are declining, people are back at work, and businesses need income.  You can support these people by purchasing  products made in Hawke’s Bay, they are safe to eat.  All food manufacturing businesses are all going though extra costs to ensure their product safety.

I hope this doesn’t come to a town near you.

Geoff Crawford

Owner Telegraph Hill

Enjoy daffodils at home and help a family affected by Cancer August 25, 2016 11:25

Telegraph Hill Daffodils for Cancer Society

Telegraph hill planted 1100 daffodil bulbs in the Autumn, with the idea that it would look fantastic to have the daffodils blooming under the rows of Olive trees.  These are now blooming and it does look amazing. Over the next three weeks they will be enjoying the bulbs as they come out.

“It feels a bit selfish to keep these all to ourselves, so we would like to donate these to the community. We invite the people of Hawkes Bay to pick as many as you like and donate in the Olivery shop to the Cancer Society” says Geoff Crawford, owner Telegraph Hill.

All donations will be gratefully passed onto Trudy Kirk, Hawke’s Bay Centre Manager, Cancer Society.

“We are grateful of all donations in support of our fundraising, especially when we do not have to provide staff or put time into initiatives such as what Telegraph Hill are doing this year” says Ms Kirk

Geoff Crawford: “This is the first year we have started helping the Cancer Society, the great thing is we can do this fundraising every year.  These daffodils will keep producing more flowers every year so we can keep raising more money every year”  

All 1100 daffodils are the ‘Carlton’ variety a two-tone yellow daffodil with soft yellow petals encircle a large, frilly, golden yellow cup. 

Telegraph Hill Olivery Daffodills

Day 10 Update: Havelock North town water supply campylobacter infection August 22, 2016 17:02

Telegraph Hill product safety:

We are lucky at Telegraph Hill to be on a separate supply to the Havelock North town supply.

This means we have not been using the infected water in our production.

We can confirm that our products are safe to eat.

Ongoing preventative measures:

We have taken some prudent steps to ensure product safety.

  1. We are a separate water system to the affected Havelock North supply.
  2. This separate system is a bore water, from our own well.  We are regularly testing this water, and will continue to regularly test until we know more information.  Tests so far have all been clear. 
  3. To make sure our products are safe, we keep all manufactured product on hold in our warehouse until the clear result is received.
  4. We will continue this cycle of holding product, testing the water, and releasing it, until we have clarity from the Hastings District Council on the healthiness of every bore in Hastings.

My research to date tells me that our bore water is an independent aquifer from the aquifer that supplies the water for the Havelock North Town supply.  We are separated by 3km, and we are uphill and to the west from it.  Aquifers do have a flow from hills (in the west) to the sea (in the east), and this is in our favour (water doesn’t flow uphill).

I do expect that once the source of the infection for the Havelock North Town Supply is found, we will be able to evaluate predict the future health of our bore.  Until then we will continue these preventative steps to ensure we sell safe product.

Geoff Crawford

Owner / / Managing Director


Grading Olives - The next step from tree to table July 27, 2016 15:08

Every step of the olive production process is completed by hand and onsite at Telegraph Hill Olivery. The processing of table olives requires practice and patience! 

This week we are grading olives which requires all hands on deck a couple of times a month. The olives are graded for the first time at harvest and then again once we are satisfied they have reached optimal flavour through processing. They are hand graded for size and quality before they reach our production kitchen, ensuring only the largest olives of our harvest reach our table olive products.

Olives are taken straight from the barrel and tipped into a large hopper and then fed out along a conveyor belt which gives us time to inspect each olive as it rolls past. Then they run through a sizer which separates small, medium and large olives.



Most mass-produced olives are ripened using ripening/chemical agents which gives them a even black colour. You might notice Telegraph Hill olives have some variation in their colour. This is the quid pro quo for better flavours that only tree-ripened olives can produce. 

Harvest 2016 Update June 29, 2016 13:31

This years Olive Harvest was a great success. A large crop and excellent weather meant we could harvest a total of 50 tonne, 15,000,000 olives in total. This year Manzanillo, Kalamata and Uovo di Piccione varieties were harvested. 

What happens now.....

Once the olives are harvested (watch here) they then go through the grader to be sized. Smaller Olives are pressed to make oil and larger olives are kept for our table olives. The large olives are then washed, and placed in 2000L vats or 200L barrels in brine (salt and water). Over the first 3 weeks, rapid fermentation begins using the wild yeast and spores within the olives. This produces carbon dioxide and acid and smells delicious like making bread at home. It is this yeast which gives Telegraph Hill Olives their distinctive flavour.

Over the next 6 months the sugars in the olives will ferment and the bitterness contained in the olives will be converted until they become edible. Then the olives continue to ferment their sugar. If you are interested in fermenting your own olives give this recipe a go!



International Gold awards for Olive Oil April 28, 2016 16:42

This week the winners of the Olive Japan International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition were announced. Telegraph Hill won two Gold medals and one Silver Medal for their three flavour infused Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

This is a stunning result in what was a competitive international competition. Only two thirds of the 600 entries from around the world got awards. 

We’ve recently started exporting to Japan, these awards will certainly help our sales and market growth. It’s a fantastic endorsement for our flavoured oil range.

This continues another good year with awards, having won best olives in NZ for the fourth year in a row at the annual NZ olive completion in September last year.

Oils and Awards below:

2016 OLIVE JAPAN International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition APRIL 2016 

Competition website: http://olivejapan.com/en/category/news_en


Picking Olives...again March 31, 2016 15:21

This year I had some help from my family. Was it #childlabour or #familybusiness....?  An ice cream reward certainly helped their enthusiasm!

We picked two trees, it took 3 hours and we got 58kg the best yield yet from these trees. 

These are the two big green olive trees that we grow at the Olivery and use just for certain customers, and at home.

Picking Olives Telegraph HillPicking Olives Telegraph HillPicking Olives Telegraph HillPicking Olives Telegraph Hill

These will be delicious!

Picking Olives Telegraph Hill

Gotta get this last olive!

Spain and Japan in Pictures February 03, 2016 11:21

Geoff went to Spain (for research) and Japan (for customer visit) in January 2016.  

A summary in pictures below.

Olive & Salt Shop Tokyo Japan

Mr Nagagawa, Ayumi Kudo & Geoff in Mr Nagakawa's shop Olive & Salt, Tokyo.

Japanese Temple Tokyo Japan Telegraph Hill

Plenty of beautiful temples in Tokyo

Japanese Green Tea Ceremony Telegraph Hill

Best Green Tea I've ever had with these three #GreenTeaCeremony

Olive Trees in Spain Telegraph Hill

Ahh Spanish Olive trees - its a man made forest

Olive Press Telegraph Hill

This museum had an old press on display.  A donkey to crush the olives and a Matt press at the back.

Graffiti Spain Telegraph Hill

We need order, humanity, more lego...

Olive Grove Spain Telegraph Hill

Not a blade of grass on the ground.....

Suerte Alta Olive Grove Spain Telegraph Hill

....and 100,000 trees at Suerte Alta

Olive Trees and Castle Zuheros Spain Telegraph Hill

This 800 year old castle is in the way of the Olive trees....

Old Olive Tree Telegraph Hill

100 year old Olive tree

Olive Trees and Processing Mill Zuheros Spain Telegraph Hill

Olive trees surround the olive Mill bottom right.

Traditional Olive Tree Farming Spain Telegraph Hill

Traditional Olive farming practice.  No grass, earth or stones in a circle around the tree to collect rain water, up to three trees planted in the same hole.

Olive Trees forever Spain Telegraph Hill

These were being picked by hand, one tree at a time....

Telegraph Hill - Villas Grove September 30, 2015 13:47

Telegraph HillTelegraph HillTelegraph HillTelegraph HillTelegraph Hill

Beautiful Olives May 26, 2015 16:15

All in a years work...

Pick an Olive Tree in 45 seconds May 21, 2015 09:28


Here you can see how the Olive Harvester picks the trees at Telegraph Hill.  This variety is South Australian Verdale.  Approx 25kg per tree.  


NZ's best Artisan Producers March 16, 2015 13:51

NZ best Artisan Producers Dish Pantry Telegraph HillRecently launched Dish Pantry has recommendations of New Zealand's best Artisan stockists, producers and products.  Telegraph Hill is of course on their list with featured products Burnt Orange & Fennel Olives and Balsamic Drizzle.

Dish Pantry is part of the Dish Magazine publication, NZ's best food magazine!

It links back into their Dish Magazine site with fantastic recipes and photography.

How To Prune An Olive Tree video 2 January 22, 2015 16:48

Video 2. Finishing off the olive tree.  It is now looking lighter, ready to grow large fruit this year.  We are following the theory of less fruit hanging on the tree = larger individual fruit size

How to Prune an Olive Tree video 1 January 22, 2015 16:43

Video 1. How to prune an Olive tree with a chain saw. Aston making it look easy.

Rabbit View From My Office Window January 22, 2015 10:55

Telegraph Hill Olive Tree Rabbit
As I locked up last night I saw this very cute rabbit grazing under the olives.  How lucky we are to work in  a place like this!
Telegraph Hill rabbit

On the Olive Grove November 25, 2014 17:13

On the grove flowering has finally started.  This year we are running two weeks behind last year.  This is due to the cold spring where the weather was all stop start.  The Olive trees listened to the cooler temperatures and delayed spring growth cycles.

I hadn't realised this was happening which resulted in me forecasting a light cropping year, because I couldn't see many flower follicles in September.  I've now changed my mind, we are in for another good year!  Plenty of flowers on all the trees.

Spring pruning was delayed as we waited for the flowers to come.  I wanted to see what the flowers would be so we could then decide how much to prune.  I didn't want to take off all my potential harvest.  If my early forecast was correct then we were going to prune lightly.  Thankfully I was wrong and we can now prune with regular gusto!

Roll on for a nice hot summer.

Best Olives in New Zealand September 25, 2014 16:49

Telegraph Hill awarded Champion Olives in the 2014 Royal Easter Show Olive Oil awards.  This is the third year running we have received this award, a great reward for the team here.

The award winning olives were our Traditional Olives.  One assumes the judges liked the classic taste of these where we keep the salt low so that the olive flavour shines.

Happenings on the Grove September 23, 2014 20:22

Under-grounding irrigation, flowering heads up and pruning....

Olive Oil on my Porridge September 19, 2014 13:15

This article Cereal for Breakfast? Pass the EVOO got me thinking why not?  I already use olive oil at every other meal time so lets not hold back from breakfast.  I recommend using a fruity or delicate oil so that the pepperyness or pungency doesn't influence your porridge too much.  I enjoyed it but did hold off on the sliced garlic!

Cancer fighting compound isolated in olive oil September 19, 2014 13:05

Amazing scientific research undertaken by a student in isolating the natural compounds in olive oil.


Inside a centrifugal olive oil press July 29, 2014 16:39

Telegraph Hill olive oil pressThis is the inside of the centrifugal olive oil press.  This simple yet complex machinery separates the oil from the water and other solids.  It is fed the mushed up olives slowly through the center, while it spins at around 3000rpm.  Olive Oil comes out one exit and the waste another.

Kalamata Olive Tree Transplant July 29, 2014 16:29

Telegraph Hill Kalamata Olives

October 2013 we moved 31 Kalamata trees.  They had a good growing season over the summer resulting in a good amount of foliage.  They then have 'sat around' for the winter with no growth at all.  The tallest trees are now around 2 meters and the smallest only up to my knees.
Telegraph Hill Kalamata OlivesSome of the tender shoots have been slightly frosted, which will slow down the spring growth.  This morning we had a minus 4 degree frost in parts of Hawke's Bay, a chilly start.  You can see the damage here.  Sigh!

Creating Robust and Medium Oils July 29, 2014 15:58


Telegraph Hill olive oil

A change from our current offerings this year.  Instead of creating a traditional varietal or grove blend of oils we have elected to blend together our oils to meet flavour profiles.

Robust; a strong oil showing characteristics of pepperyness, pungency and full mouth feel.  To be used with stronger flavour foods like tomato sauces, game meats, mushroom risottos, & roast vegetables.

Medium: an oil of middling pungency, with good balance of fruityness bitterness and astringency.  To be used liberally on vegetables, salads, pasta and dishes with a 'medium flavour'.

Available from September.

The Food Show Auckland May 27, 2014 12:33

Night Harvest May 16, 2014 11:36

Olives picked today are processed tonight.  Here is some pictures from last nights processing.

I find the olives always look better at night, I think it is 'selective seeing' in the low light...certainly the spills look smaller until the next day.

I use this equipment to deleaf and size out the small olives.  The large olives go into barrels and vats for fermentation in brine and the smalls get pressed for oil within 24 hours..

Harvesting 2014 May 15, 2014 16:37

Have had a lot of inquiries for Fresh Olives for home curing, so have made these available on the website.  Check them out.

Some pictures from this years harvest .  

Harvest Highlights May 07, 2014 16:30

Telegraph Hill Olives
This shows the matrix we use to identify the quality of the olives after harvest as they come in from the grove.  This lot is from our Haumoana contract grower.
Harvest notes from the log:
Manzanillo Olives
Good colour range
A little disease (see the two green olives five rows down position three & four have brown spots).  These will need hand grading out.
Not many stalks attached (makes for happy hand graders)
Good size olives
No wrinkle
No frost damage
Acceptable leaf and sticks quantity

Sensory Evaluation Evening May 07, 2014 13:13

Olive and Oil tasting at Telegraph HillDo you want to taste more in your meals?  

This fun evening will help you evaluate flavours in food.  You can apply this knowledge to olives and olive oil at the evening, and every time you eat or drink afterwards.

Recognise what part of your mouth tastes

  • sweet
  • bitter
  • sour
  • salt
  • astringency 
  • umami.

Test your nose, can you pick a scent?

If you have ever wondered what it is in a good olive or good oil you are supposed to recognise then this is for you.

Join us for a relaxed evening, where you will get the chance to educate your palate and apply these learnings to olives and olive oil (& life of course!).

Date : Thursday 26th June 7.30pm

Location: Common Room, 227 Heretaunga st East, Hastings, Hawke's Bay

Cost: $20


The fine print.  We recommend you eat dinner prior to coming.  As part of the evening you will be required to taste and smell liquid and solid samples. Cash bar operating, you can sup while evaluating!

Harvesting Green Olives May 07, 2014 11:54

Hand picking olives at Telegraph Hill
Here I am picking green olives on the 31st March at the Olivery.  This is an Ouvo D'Piccione tree, its olives a variety known for their large green fruit.  This tree had 35kg of olives on it, a fantastic yield!  I immediately thought I know how to grow olives.... until the next two trees had zero olives, sigh... such is horticulture.  This precious crop will be sold through the Olivery tasting room and to local restaurants.  When its gone its gone!

Visit to the Spanish Olive Library March 10, 2014 09:33

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!

H4 - Heddie the Olive Tree in March March 03, 2014 11:11

Kalamata Olive Tree Telegraph Hill H4

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. 

Kalamata Olive tree Telegraph Hill

This is especially pleasing as it means we had a 100% success rate with the transplanted trees.

Grove Update - So How Big Are Those Olives? March 03, 2014 10:48

Telegraph Hill Manzanillo OlivesWith 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.

Grove update Eddie checks his tree February 10, 2014 16:07

Telegraph Hill Kalamata Olive treeEddie 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!

Kalamata Olive Telegraph Hill


'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.



On the Olive Grove December 24, 2013 09:55

Telegraph Hill Kalamata Olives regrowth

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).


Wild swarm of bees at Telegraph Hill November 26, 2013 13:13

Bee swarm at Telegraph Hill
Morag Black and Janet Luke at Telegraph Hill with the bees

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.  

New e-book Remarkable Recipes by international olive oil expert Judy Ridgway November 26, 2013 13:04

Judy Ridgway Remarkable Recipes olive oil e bookTelegraph 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.