June 22, 2024 11:25 PM

Bumper Olive Crop Has Growers Excited


Pukara Estate has its own specialty harvester that makes getting the job done much easier.

By Jem Anshaw

They may have tired eyes and weary bodies, but there is no wiping the smile of the faces of staff at Pukara Estate.

After years of struggling with less than ideal conditions, the 2021 olive harvest has owners Steve and Racquel Goodchild over the moon.

“The drought years were tough, olives will survive harsh conditions but they were not productive, so the cost of production escalates,” Steve said.

With no way of knowing for sure how much fruit will be harvested until it is all in, they are estimating that over 300 tons will come off the trees.

Unlike a number of olive groves, Pukara Estate fruit is processed from start to finish at the Denman Road property which helps control costs and quality of the final product.

“You have the ability to react and be as nimble as you need to be and focus on the areas that need attention without it being a real overhead to the business,” Steve explained.

“The gain in quality is so much more if you can process the fruit as soon as possible.”

After the oil is pressed it stays in resting tanks for around six weeks, or longer if there is no need to bottle it to keep the product as fresh as possible.

There are seven varieties of olive growing on the property that are blended to make the different products and bases to flavoured oils, however there is a much sought-after product that is currently flying off the shelves.

“Novello is first for the season, it’s the earlier stuff and is on the shelf ready to go, whereas the rest of the oil will sit in the settling tanks for a number of weeks and will go through a filtering process,” Racquel said of the 1500 limited run of unsettled product.

Once the oil has settled and is packaged up there are orders waiting for Perth, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, taking a little taste of the Hunter global.