Olives are hardy, disease resistant, fruit every two years if left alone, but can be encouraged to fruit annually with careful pruning. They are wonderfully rewarding to grow when you see and taste the gorgeous olive oil, green gold as it pours from the press.
The olives we chose to plant are:
This variety was sourced from a cultivar in the Herekino valley, most likely originally brought to New Zealand by the early settlers in about 1850. It has adapted well to the climate, fruits prolifically, has no known “enemies” and will fruit from the first year of planting.
J5 oil has a slightly mellow but distinctive peppery flavour, good colour and is a robust oil great for dressings and dipping. J5 olives are also useful for pickling though are smallish compared with other cultivars.
Is the predominant olive grown in Italy, believed to have originated in Tuscany and does very well in Northalnd. It grows more like a tree than a bush, with dense foliage and is also a good table olive being larger in size than the J5. Leccino oil is delicate in flavour and does well blended with Frantoio.
Frantoio is also a Tuscan Olive that does very well in the Northland climate. Medium in size it produces a high quality oil. When blended with Leccino, frantoio oil is robust with an almost chilli kick in the tail. Perfect for dipping.
The Spanish Manzanilla is one of the most abundant olives, originating in Seville Spain. Manzanilla has a lower oil content than the other olives we grow and this makes it more suitable as a table olive. It is round and fleshy, and often seen on a toothpick in cocktails!
By some twist of fate we also managed to plant two Koroneiki olive trees. These are predominantly grown in Greece and Crete, are small, stocky dense trees and cope well with the wind – one of the outstanding features of the Peninsula on which we live! As with the J5, Koroneiki fruists from the first year and has a very high oil to kilo yield. Koroneiki oil is a mellow oil with honey tones.