Olivery News

Olives Win Class Champion.... again September 26, 2019 14:14

At the recently held Royal Easter Show Olive Awards we were delighted to receive the Class Champion awards for 

Finalist - NZ Artisan Awards August 15, 2019 15:13

YES! Telegraph Hill is a finalist in the 2019 Artisan Awards.  We entered...

Label Colour Inspiration May 28, 2019 13:07

New labels.  How we made a major label refresh and kept it true to Telegraph Hill.

When do I pick? February 28, 2019 16:50

This frequently asked question is often answered with another question....what do you want to do with your olives?

Eat or Oil?  

The rule is the eating olives (table olives) are picked first, while the flesh is still strong so that it will not soften during the natural fermentation, which lasts up to 8 months.

Oil olives are picked later, so that the oil has maximum time to accumulate in the olive prior to pressing.

The next question:  where are you?

Northland start picking in March, Otago in June, and anywhere in between is in between!

Ripeness determines the time to pick, a rule of thumb is:

Table: green olives are picked before any colour change starts to happen, black olives are picked when they are black.  (unless they are coloured in process, then they are picked green and, well, coloured with iron oxides),  We don't colour olives at Telegraph Hill.

Oil: when the tree has 1/3 green, 1/3 coloured and 1/3 black olives. This will give a good flavour to the oil.

Why You Should Cook With Extra Virgin Olive Oil November 2, 2018 11:18

Smoke point is not a good measure to determine the stability of an oil when cooking.

Less is More Olives January 31, 2018 08:45

Telegraph Hill Olives NZ

My favourite olive tree. It always produces the biggest olives and a lot of them.

The heavy pruning earlier in the season has exaggerated this, it is looking like the experiment of more pruning = less olives = larger olives is working.  Roll on Harvest.

Olive Oil Candle January 11, 2018 00:00

Burning an Olive Oil Candle at Telegraph Hill...

November in the Olive Grove November 20, 2017 16:31

Telegraph Hill Olive Grove
See how to spot a set flower on an Olive tree, and the mechanics of flowering.

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!



Spain and Japan in Pictures February 3, 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....

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.  


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.

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.

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..

Harvest Highlights May 7, 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

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.

Art in the Olives Festival November 8, 2013 12:21

A fantastic day had by all.  2014 will be held early November again. 

DJ Floyd setting the atmosphere at Telegraph Hill

DJ Floyd set a lovely ambiance for the day with his 'soul food music' theme.




Jules Clarke at Telegraph Hill


Jules Clarke painting live!














Olive Oil Massage at Telegraph Hill


Olive Oil Massage...mmmmm














Rae West at Telegraph Hill


The amazing Rae West 














Ricks Terstappen Paddy Cooper and jules Clarke at Telegraph Hill


Ricks Terstappen and Paddy Cooper both has amazing sculptures.

Champion Olives for Telegraph Hill September 25, 2013 09:52

Olive & Olive Oil Awards Telegraph HillRoyal 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.

NEVOO (say nee vo) New season Extra Virgin Olive Oil June 21, 2013 17:02

NEVOO is dance in your mouth flavour, splash it on everything and enjoy the aliveness of this fresh from the press olive oil.  Harvested on the 17th May 2013 this oil is at its best right now.  I'm really enjoying it on steamed vegetables in season right now is broccoli and cauliflower.  Pop into the Olivery to get yours or visit Bellatino's in Havelock North.

Olive Harvest 2013 ends June 12, 2013 13:45

It has been two months since we picked the first green olive, so it is nice to move on to the next phase in the process.  This is when we nurture the olives in their barrels and vats so that we get the best natural fermentation starting.  Salt and pH levels are monitored and adjusted as necessary, but really we are just guiding the olives to do their own thing for the next 6-8 months.

Here is a video of the mechanical harvester emptying into a bin.


5-10 Olives is a healthy addition to the diet May 22, 2013 15:07

Kalamata Olives at Telegraph Hill OliveryI was pleased to read today in the June 'Healthy Food Guide' that "A serving of five to 10 olives is a healthy addition to the diet.  The phenolic compounds in olives have been studied for their antioxidant properties."  We all know that extra virgin olive oil is a 'good oil' it follows that the olives have this goodness in them too.

The magazine does mention that as olives are processed in salt brines there can be around 320 mg of sodium in 5 olives.  This made me think, does the salt in olives 'offset' the goodness in them?  The answer is NO it does not! As long as you eat a balanced diet. 

The recommended daily intake of sodium (mainly found in salt in our diet) is 920-  2300mg.  Interestingly 2300mg is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt. 

Sold Out of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, more on the way May 10, 2013 16:53


Sorry last years olive oil has sold out, which means we will be filling orders in 6 weeks time once the new season oil has settled.   We have pressed 2013 olive oil but it is pungent with high astringency so needs some time to settle, level out, and balance.  Just as soon as this happens (6 weeks) we'll bottle it.  It will then be labelled fresh or 'olio nuevo' oil, it will taste absolutely delicious - fresh, crisp and a powerful aroma of herbs and grass.

Cabernet wine & Olive Oil Easter eggs March 22, 2013 13:39

Olive Oil Easter EggsCabernet drizzle and olive oil centers, with dark chocolate coat.

In what perhaps is a world first, Vinnie Beaumont at Telegraph Hill has made a cabernet wine and olive oil Easter egg.

This is definitely an egg for adult taste, while sweet from the cabernet drizzle, the olive oil gives richness and depth, with a chocolate coated finish.  These delectable eggs are strictly adults only!

The gooey centre is made of Cabernet Drizzle and Olive Oil.  Utilising his Chef skills Vinnie has combined these two ingredients into a gooey centre.  Then covered with dark chocolate.  With each egg just a mouthful they are a perfect for desert canapés 

The eggs come in a three pack with a dark chocolate, white chocolate drizzle and olive powder 


“You can definitely taste the oil in the filling showing how olive oil can highlight to good flavours in food” says Vinnie.

Vinnie making easter eggs from olive oilWe’ve made these eggs as a fun reward for our customers who visit the Olivery shop.  Just something a little different and fun to eat after a day of children and chocolate!

Traditionally olive oil is used when painting Easter eggs.  Olive oil is used when creating the marbling effect on the shell.  Beautiful patterns are created using the oil to displace the dye. 

Olives New Zealand DVD March 18, 2013 13:17

 View this latest promotional DVD from Olives New Zealand the national body for growers in NZ.

It gives a good background on growing olives and what it is that makes New Zealand olive oil so good.

Kalamata olive grafts March 11, 2013 11:26

You can clearly see the graft splicing into the existing trunk and branches.  It looks to be a good bond.  The bond will be tested in the years ahead as the branch gains weight and volume.

This is year three for these Kalamata grafts.  It has been two and a half years since they were grafted, so this year is the first fruit. While its only a small quantity on this graft it is a promising start.

Interestingly another graft tree has grown faster than this one it is three meters tall.  It has no fruit this year.  Our theory as to why? It has been happily putting energy into growing tree rather than fruit.  Quite why it chose to do this is another theory again!

Olive tree water lines February 27, 2013 11:53


Telegraph Hill Olive trees

It is certainly dry, this picture shows the direct result of irrigating the olive trees.  Nice green grass along the row!  A bit of a pain as we now need to mow under the trees only. 

We haven't cut the remainder of the lawns for a month, the only things growing are weeds and the grass along the rows.

To reduce the need for mowing Morag has planted comfrey in between some of the trees.  We hope this trial planting will grow and keep the weeds down, as well as looking nice.  Will bring you updates on that as it develops.