Samantha Elley

Summerland Olives recognised at national competiton

IN A very non-descript brick building at the end of a long driveway in Fairy Hill, just outside Casino, some of the most delicious products have been created and recognised at the Sydney Royal Olive Oil Competition last week.

Summerland Olives walked away from the event with gold for its Australian Sun Dried Natural Kalamata Olives and silver for its Australian Sun Dried Sicilian Herbs and Spices Olives.

"The olives are processed using traditional European methods, which is such a simple recipe," process manager Alan Hodgson said.

"It is a wholly chemical-free process."

Summerland Olives was founded by olive-growing families in the area who wanted to process the produce they grew. "What started out as a temporary base here in Fairy Hill has lasted for 10 years," Mr Hodgson said.

"We found the underground water here is beautiful and ideal for processing olives."

Mr Hodgson said olives grown on the Northern Rivers were ideal for pickling as table olives because of their high water and low oil content.

"We did process them for olive oil, but it was costing us more than we were making," he said.

"We were only getting about 5% oil when we pressed the olives, whereas olives grown in drier climates could get 20-22% oil out of them."

Mr Hodgson and his wife Denise have their own label called Grumpy Grandma's and its wood-smoked olive oil won gold at the Sydney Royal.

"We also got silver for our wood-smoked olives and bronze for our salt-cured olives with Moroccan spice," he said.

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