The Story Behind PepperGreen Estate’s 100-Acre Olive Grove
Why the olive groves are lovin’ Canyonleigh
PepperGreen Estate is producing award-winning (and delish!) local wine, but did you know they’re producing amazing tasting olive oil too?
In a 100-acre olive grove at Canyonleigh, 700 metres above sea level, the PepperGreen team is using super-innovative growing and production techniques to create high quality olive oils here in the Highlands. Cool, right?
Here’s what you need to know about this locally grown olive oil.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is essentially a fruit juice.
Oh! Okay!! But a fruit juice you can dip your sourdough into! The olives are pressed and extracted to maintain the absolute best characteristics and preserve the flavour and health benefits. There are three characteristics of olive oil – fruitiness, bitterness and pungency – and the PepperGreen Estate team believes the balance across these three elements is the key to the level of deliciousness.
The Arbequina olive is a famous Spanish olive variety totes at home in Canyonleigh.
The team have planted Arbequina olive trees for a number of reasons. It starts fruiting at a young age, produces one of the highest concentrations of oils and is pretty darn delicious – oils made from Arbequina are generally buttery, fruity and highly aromatic. Yum!
Olives are resistant to cold (perfect for the Highlands!).
Olives are a resilient fruit. They’re totally fine with temperatures of -8 degrees Celsius or even -10 degrees Celsius. And here’s something we didn’t know. Olive trees actually need temperatures close to zero which induce vegetative rest – it's like having a loooong bear-like winter nap for the olive tree. And they deal well with the dry and hot temperatures of the summer months too. Lucky, because it can get bloomin’ hot in Canyonleigh!
Innovative growing strategies means more olives!
The PepperGreen Estate team chose to run with the Super High Density (SHD) Olive Grove approach, which is a new planting system that means more olives and less cost. Smart! With this system, they have planted 1600 trees per hectare– that’s 55,000 olive trees for those playing along at home! Wow! That's a LOT of olive trees. Traditional planting methods would have restricted them to between 100-250 trees per hectare. Big difference, right? This means more olives and more olive oil which means we’re going to need some more bread, people!
Soil health is key to the health of the trees and quality of the olives.
Using biodynamic principles – that means creating the best conditions for soil and plant health – is the focus for the PepperGreen team. In fact, they prepared the soil for six months BEFORE they even planted the olive trees. This approach encourages root growth, increases oxygen and organic matter in the soil, which means when the trees are actually planted, their root growth is faster, and the nutrient uptake is better. The result? Fast growing and healthy olive trees bearing high quality and tasty olives!
They also make soap from the olives!
PepperGreen Estate has a beautiful range of Savon soap. What’s Savon soap, you ask? It’s a traditional French method of making soap with some pretty clear terms and conditions. It MUST be made with 100% natural ingredients – no nasties, yay! And each batch must contain a set percentage of vegetable oils – in this case, PepperGreen’s beautiful, locally grown olive oil.
You can taste test PepperGreen Estate’s olive oil at The Tasting Room in Berrima.
We love The Tasting Room at Berrima! PepperGreen Estate has created a gorgeous space where you can taste test their wines, book in for lunch or bubbles and a share platter, private tasting experiences and more. You can buy their wines, olive oils and soaps here. Or if you’re wanting to keep your distance, you can simply order what you need online.
So, there you go! How fab is it that we have such a huge olive grove in the Southern Highlands, creating employment opportunities and producing high quality olive products for us locals, and putting Canyonleigh on the map in the competitive world of olive production?! Awesome!
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