`Producers in New Zealand Celebrate Bumper Harvest - Olive Oil Times

Producers in New Zealand Celebrate Bumper Harvest

By Lisa Anderson
Aug. 18, 2021 09:27 UTC

Olive oil pro­duc­ers in New Zealand are expect­ing a bumper har­vest.

Farmers har­vested 2,000 tons of olives this year, sig­nif­i­cantly more than the 1,500 tons har­vested in 2020, accord­ing to Gayle Sheridan, the exec­u­tive offi­cer of Olives New Zealand.

Regarding the qual­ity of the oils pro­duced, Sheridan said the aver­age polyphe­nols were 276 mil­ligrams per kilo­gram of oil, with a range of 111 to 342, and organolep­tic results showed very fruity oils.

Last year we had a very light yield with excel­lent intense oils after the drought, but 2021 has seen trees laden with fruit.- Stephen Davies Howard, owner, Loopline Olives

She also reported that Covid-19 restric­tions did not impact grow­ers this year.

See Also:2021 Harvest Updates

However, one major olive proces­sor would typ­i­cally have brought over a mas­ter miller to lead their pro­duc­tion, and this was not pos­si­ble,” Sheridan said. Similarly, Olives New Zealand was not able to bring out an inter­na­tional olive oil pro­cess­ing expert to lead a pro­cess­ing prac­tices sem­i­nar.”

Sheridan said other chal­lenges grow­ers faced this year included the usual issues of birds, the threat of frost and avail­abil­ity of com­mer­cial har­vesters.”


Loopline Olives

Andrew Liley, who co-owns Juno Olives in the Wairarapa region with his wife, Helen, told Olive Oil Times this year’s har­vest has been a good one.”

Koroneiki and Picual didn’t do as well this year, but all other vari­eties were sig­nif­i­cantly up on last year,” Liley said. One of our vari­eties, Moraiolo, had never fruited in 20 years, so it was a real bonus to have a good har­vest from these trees, enough to pro­duce a sin­gle-vari­ety extra vir­gin olive oil.”

As far as I am aware, no one else in New Zealand has ever pro­duced this,” he added.

Liley said the team at Juno was for­tu­nate enough to not be impacted by Covid-19 at all.”

Meanwhile, Lisa Buchan, who co-owns Waikawa Olives on the Kapiti Coast of the North Island with her part­ner, Glen Wigley, said they are expect­ing less than half of last year’s vol­ume of olive oil because of fruit set issues.


From left: Abbey Wigley, Pete Wigley, Dianne Buchan, Lisa Buchan, Glenn Wigley and Roy Buchanan

We had a very poor fruit set this year,” she told Olive Oil Times. There were lots of flow­ers, but we think the weather was too cold and wet.”

Buchan said they were wait­ing for sam­pling and test results, but early indi­ca­tions were that the oil will be of good qual­ity.

She said that, unlike last year, when there were higher costs for press­ing due to lock­down restric­tions, the team at Waikawa Glen was not impacted by pan­demic-related chal­lenges this time around.

Another pro­ducer from the North Island, Loopline Olives owner Stephen Davies Howard, described his farm’s har­vest results this year as excel­lent.”


Loopline Olives

Last year we had a very light yield with excel­lent intense oils after the drought, but 2021 has seen trees laden with fruit,” Davies Howard said.

He added that Loopline Olives delayed the har­vest as long as pos­si­ble jug­gling the threat of frost against yield and hip­ness’ of the fruit, and it paid off.”

We got no frost dam­age thanks to our lit­tle micro­cli­mate here, and we aver­aged a 15-per­cent yield,” Davies Howard said. The oils are not as intense as last year, but beau­ti­fully bal­anced with lots of com­plex­ity. The pep­per­i­ness is very much there but after a lovely antic­i­pa­tory delay. It is excit­ing cus­tomers’ palates.”

Davies Howard said Covid-19 had no dis­cernible impact” on the team at Loopline Olives this year.

We proved last year that we could make award-win­ning extra vir­gin olive oil with­out exter­nal help, win­ning two Gold Awards at the NYIOOC,” he con­cluded. We took that con­fi­dence into 2021, and with New Zealand’s strict irra­di­a­tion poli­cies life is pretty much as nor­mal as long as you accept that you can’t travel.”


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