• Loddon Herald

Strong yields for oil

MORE than 40 tonnes of olives were harvested by Peter Eicher and his team in Boort last week.

The owner of award-winning Salute Olives says about two-third of the oil from the grove is now in tanks ready to be bottled while picking of table olives also continued.

Peter said the routine during harvest was to pick one day, process the next. Table olives are being picked by hand.

“We’re also watching the weather. In late May and June there’s a risk of potential frosts that can damage the quality of the olive,” he said.

“We had a tiny frost last Friday. That was okay, it’s if the temperature with the frost is minus 2 - that’s when there is the impact.”

Sales of olive oil has seen Salute Olives without stock since last November and Peter believes this season’s strong harvest will both meet demand and grow available stock.

“We had strong internet sales last year during COVID and this helped compensate for the drop in demand from restaurants and the wider hospitality industry,” he said.

“But based on the demand experienced, we probably need to make enough oil for 18 months.

“Having the capacity to process the olives on the farm reduces the time from harvest to pressing or from harvest to pickling, ensuring the highest quality of the products.”

Peter and wife Marlies have also been processing olives for smaller groves across the Loddon. “The owners are picking on weekends and we process for them on Mondays,” he said.

The certified organic grove at Salute is leaving no waste from this year’s harvest, one that Peter says has been outstanding.

“The ‘solids’ from the olives become compost and fertiliser for use on the property,” he said.

While the harvest continues, oils are expected to be on sale next month.

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