Article by: Hari Yellina
This month’s course will provide olive growers in central New South Wales with a refresher on best practises. The event is being held over two days, July 28 and 29, at Rylstone Olive Press, 25 Mossy Rock Lane, Monivae, NSW, by the Australian Olive Association. This session is being held to address the problems growers in the Hunter Valley and central NSW have faced recently. In addition to other problems, growers in the area have experienced drought, fires, rain, flooding, and pressure from lace bugs. The AOA reports that numerous olive groves have changed hands, and the new growers require business information and assistance to produce olives profitably and to transform the olives into premium extra virgin olive oil and/or table olives.
There will be speakers and vendors from Queensland, Victoria, and NSW. Food safety, biosecurity, grove health and nutrition, oil quality, harvest-related issues, composting, pruning logistics, and many other subjects will be covered. A trade show will offer a wealth of knowledge and insights into the most recent olive services and goods. On both days of the event, there will be a light breakfast, morning and afternoon tea, and lunch. On the evening of Thursday, July 28, a workshop supper will be held at Lowe Family Wines in Mudgee with David Lowe serving as the guest speaker.
Today, olive trees are grown all over Australia, from Queensland’s northern tropical regions to Western Australia’s most southern point. The ability of the trees to survive in a variety of conditions, from chilly Tasmania to hot tropical locations, has been discovered. Many of these well-established orchards have been seeded over many years by birds, and a large number of feral trees are now growing throughout the olive production areas, supporting the suitability of the Australian environment for growing olive trees. Studies to identify new cultivars from these wild trees were unsuccessful in establishing any standout cultivars. These untamed trees are currently viewed as a threat to natural plant life and have even been classified as noxious weeds in several states. Today, the Australian olive industry is a modern production system for excellent quality oil.