Olivery News

Olive Tree Pruning October 18, 2019 13:04

Geoff doing the mahi in the grove. A video of olive tree pruning.

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 

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.

Artisan Cheese Tasting in Hawke's Bay with Juliet Harbutt February 14, 2018 13:51

Juliet Harbutt Cheese Evening Geoff Crawford Telegraph Hill

This was fun, and what an amazing 'resource' we have here in Hawke's Bay with Juliet Harbutt a world renowned Master of Cheese!

My key 'take home' point was that, actually, i do like goats cheese.  A good one doesn't taste 'goaty'.  This resonated with me, because, we have the same feedback on olives!  too many 'bad tasting' olives out there puts people off the whole category!

 Juliet Harbutt Cheese tasting Geoff Crawford Telegraph Hill

I highly recommend taking part in one of these evenings, and would be suprised if you didn't back it up with a second evening!

We got to taste 12 cheeses with 3 different beverages (so 36 different combinations!), this gave us an instant experience of what and why pairing food and wine is about.  We discussed what worked, what didn't and why. 

My favourite was Savvy Washed Rind from Drunken Nanny, a gooey soft cheese, paired with Mayflower Apple cider from Edgebrook Cider.  The combination made both go BOOM! in your mouth, and created a whole new 'higher level' flavour.

I'll be back for more!

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...

Telegraph Hill Olive Tree Pruning December 28, 2017 11:49

Read Geoff's theory on this years pruning....

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.

Award Winning Olives October 11, 2017 20:10

Telegraph Hill Olives

Telegraph Hill wins Champion Olives!

New Zealand's table olive competition 2017 is run in Auckland.  An interesting yet irrelevant aside, somehow they are the "Royal Easter Show", yet the competition is run in September.

So the results from this years Royal Easter Show Olive competition Telegraph Hill Olives are the best olives in New Zealand! 

Champion (The highest score in category)

And the medals went as follows:

 This is the fifth year Telegraph Hill has won Champion olives, an achievement we are very proud of.

Our history of 14 years of awards is here.

Whats Geoff (the owner) of Telegraph Hill look like? August 24, 2017 13:00

Adam and Eve from The Adam and Eve Show on TV2 visited Telegraph Hill.  They didn’t know what they were going to be doing at the Olivery.

They made a show of us all picking and spitting olives.  It was a fun time, excuse my nervous start, we got into the swing of things eventually!


Olives and Pigs June 19, 2017 16:46

Pig Telegraph Hill Olive Grove


Pigs.  The wild pigs at the Mohaka grove are the bain of Brad. When I visit the grove to look at the trees, the first thing I have to do is look at the photos of Brads close encounters with the natural wild life.

And it is wild. 

If he spots one without his gun he’s not getting out of the tractor cab.  ‘They’ll go ya’ he says.  He has photos of the pigs alive and dead, taken from the cab and standing in the rows, and of course great stories about the ones that got away.

He likes to hunt, but his point is this: One pig makes a lot of damage.  They root amongst the trees and destroy the ground, making unseen ruts and bumps that the tractor and gear crashes and bangs through.  This slows down the speed of grove spraying and mowing and can damage the gear. “They’re costing us Geoff” he says (and they taste good)

Time to celebrate! Gold for Telegraph Hill on the world stage. April 26, 2017 21:48

Telegraph Hill has had yet another successful year at the Olive Japan 2017 Extra Virgin Olive Oil awards announced on 24th April  2017. 

GOLD - Roast Garlic Infused Olive Oil 
GOLD - Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime & Chilli Infused Olive Oil
SILVER - Thyme, Sage and Rosemary Olive Oil

OLIVE JAPAN International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition is one of the premier olive oil competitions in the world. Last years competition had over 600 entries! We are delighted 3 of our products have been recognised at this level against such tough competition from around the globe.

These awards are also a huge help in cementing our steadily growing niche in the Japanese market.

To find out more about the Olive Japan 2017 competition here

Olive Harvest 2017 - Tips for you at home! March 24, 2017 11:30

The olive harvest at Telegraph Hill is almost underway and this year it is running to schedule - bang on time with a medium sized olive crop. 

The first variety of olives harvested are an Italian variety called Ouvo D'Piccione, known for their large green fruit. These are ready to be harvested now at two of our groves.

Manzanillo Olives are next - this is the main crop which is harvested from 8 groves dotted around Hawkes Bay. 

Kalamata Olives are the final variety harvested around mid May - see these trees next time you visit The Olivery.

Here are some tips on harvesting your own crop!

- Sun ripened olives should have some variation in their colour. This is called quid pro quo and allows for not only colour variation but better flavours that only tree-ripened olives can produce.

- Once harvested make sure you use Olives swiftly - once picked the quality and flavour can deteriorate quickly. 

- To cure your own olives follow this method

- If you are interested in having your crop pressed into Olive Oil contact these Hawkes Bay based businesses

Olivewood Farm Partnership - Julie and Zane / 0272784947 / 06 8367923

Ken Mark / 06 8749455

Happy harvesting!

Our Latest Silverware! October 31, 2016 17:00

Our Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil (bottled as Medium Intensity Extra Virgin Olive Oil) has won a SILVER medal at this year's New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards earlier this month.

This consistent all-rounder is smooth - not too strong or peppery! and can be used liberally on all dishes to enhance and enrich.  A delicious, nutritious, guilt-free superfood!


Our Latest Silverware! October 31, 2016 17:00

Our Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil (bottled as Medium Intensity Extra Virgin Olive Oil) has won a SILVER medal at this year's New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards earlier this month.

This consistent all-rounder is smooth - not too strong or peppery! and can be used liberally on all dishes to enhance and enrich.  A delicious, nutritious, guilt-free superfood!


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!



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.

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!

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!

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 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

Harvesting Green Olives May 7, 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!

H4 - Heddie the Olive Tree in March March 3, 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 3, 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.

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).


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.

Transplanting Kalamata Olive Trees November 15, 2013 08:56

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!

Telegraph Hill Olive tree transplantFirst we had to chop the tops off them.

Olive tree transplanting at Telegraph HillThis ones ready to move.  We labelled each one to keep track of the adopted trees

Olive tree transplanting at Telegraph HillDig them up with a digger.


Olive tree transplanting at Telegraph HillPlant them in pre dug holes. 


Olive tree transplanting at Telegraph HillSome water and this olive tree is ready to grow. 


Olive tree transplanting at Telegraph HillUnfortunately some didn't make it.  This one we ring barked so we decided to chop off right at the base. It should still grow. 

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.

Spring Grove Update September 25, 2013 09:29

Telegraph Hill Olive tree flowersSpring has begun in Hawke's Bay with beautiful blossom everywhere.  Everywhere except the olive trees that is! Olives will blossom in late November.  We are starting our pruning program in October.

This picture shows the start of the flower buds.  You can see them growing from where the leaf meets the stem.

It's raining Kalamata Olives June 13, 2013 11:22

Once a year we get to see this sight.  I love my Kalamata olives!

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. 

Harvest has started May 9, 2013 10:57

 First olives in this season were from the Olivewood grove in Esk Valley. Olivewood grove is hand picked by Julie and Zane due to the sloping hills the grove is placed on.  The planting format was in the old style of thinking of placing manzanillo trees as pollinators among the rows of other olive varieties. This means Julie and Zane first have to find the Manzanillo trees (about 1 in 20) dotted around the grove before harvesting!

Soon we will harvest April 30, 2013 09:29

Manzanillo Olives ready to harvestCheck out these olives!  This picture of the Manzanillo olives on the trees in the Villa grove.  They are huge! Its been a fantastic growing season this year.  We've had healthy trees and low rainfall - a drought in fact!  

Looking to harvest in a week or so, around the 6th of May.

Interesting how the olives are green and black right next to each other.  

Green Olive Harvest Begins April 4, 2013 03:35


Today I harvested the big green olive tree.  We think it is a Uovo D'Piccione or UDP for short.  We ended up with three of these among the Kalamata trees due to a mix up at the nursery.  Its very hard to tell olive trees apart, especially when they are still seedlings resulting in nursery mix ups being a regular occurrence.

This one tree produced 14kg of fruit, which we will process and make available through the Olivery shop.

As the picture shows they are a large fruit, they have a nutty & light olive flavour.    

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.