Home' Grower : January 2010 Contents The South Australian Grower -- February 2010 9
with inferior imports posing the biggest
Cheaper labour and government subsidies
enable European olives to undercut the
price of Australian produce. Mark said the
inferior quality of many imports was not
doing the local industry any favours.
"People buy imported olives and find
they are not flavoursome and have a poor
aftertaste because they have been
chemically treated overseas, and then they
think all olives taste like that," he said.
"It tends to put a dampener on trying to
educate people that trying quality olives
will be a good experience."
That has not stopped Mark and Jill, who
have been working hard to promote their
brand since its establishment three years ago.
The couple sold their produce at farmers'
markets for two years, establishing a
customer base that continues to purchase
The Olive Lair products from retail outlets.
"Basically, we went from bulk wholesale,
to farmers' markets, and built up enough
clientele from those markets to be able to
move to a retail situation," Mark said.
As well as being better for the business
financially, the move also enables Mark to
spend weekends with his young family.
Mark believes producing quality fruit
and maintaining that standard of quality is
the key to success in the industry, but
convincing Australian consumers to
purchase the product remains a challenge.
"Australians have only really been
consuming olives for 10 years and a lot of
people don't even know what they are," he
"We are now starting to see kids that have
grown up eating olives, but it's a slow
Running a stall at the Royal Adelaide
Show and conducting in-store promotions
at retail outlets had helped to promote the
brand, but Mark said it had been a hard
slog, particularly in areas where olives were
not widely consumed.
"We go into the shops and ask people to
try an olive, and in some areas, only one in
10 people will try one."
"But in other areas, we might get nine
out of 10 people, because they have grown
up eating olives or have experienced them
at some point in time. It can be that
Olives are har vested on the Cherry
Gardens farm from May to June, and brined
to eliminate bitterness -- a process that takes
six months. The couple then marinate their
olives, producing three different flavours -
natural Greek, herb and chilli. Trees are
pruned following har vest in July and August
and bore irrigated from September to May.
Mark and Jill aim to eventually produce
10 tonnes of olives per year, but having
relatively young trees means they have a
fair way to go to achieve this.
In addition to Kalamata trees,
Mediterranean and Koroneiki species are
also required for the pollination process, and
fruits from those trees are pressed for oil.
Black scale is the most prevalent pest, with
the olive lace bug and curculio beetle also
posing a threat. Pest levels are monitored
and treated throughout the season.
Mark and Jill's property is in a 915
millimetre rainfall region, with clay-based
soils. Tissue and soil testing is conducted
at the start of each year to determine soil
requirements, with fertiliser application in
autumn and spring, and liming carried out
once every five years to maintain a neutral
THE Olive Lair brand, established by Cherry
Gardens growers Mark and Jill Fox, features
a fox logo designed to catch the attention of
consumers'. Mark says the play on words
also aims to give customers something by
which to remember the brand.
The couple believe it is important to market
a professional-looking product, labelled with
nutritional information and a use-by date.
"It is a bit of a problem in the industry, a lot
of olives are packaged without that
information. Because the quality of imported
products varies a lot, it tends to put people
off buying unknown brands or unbranded
olives," Mark said.
Changes in climatic conditions can affect
quality and consistency, but only top-quality
olives are picked for retail use, and the
remaining fruit is pressed and sold for oil.
"There are too many inferior olives on the
market, which gives the industry a bad name.
It's important to maintain a high quality
standard so that when people buy, they are
getting a consistent product," Mark said.
Details: Mark and Jill Fox
Olive Lair clever as a Fox
Why not diversify and convert to a
Super High Density Olive Grove?
AGROMILLORA AUSTRALIA Pty Ltd
Ph (08) 8541 3600 Mobile: 0429 413 600
Groves are set up to be harvested with a traditional
grape harvester. This reduces the labour costs and
makes olive growing viable compared to traditional
olive groves where manual harvesting is required.
We have thousands of plants ready for planting
for the 2011 season.
We would also welcome your visit to our
High Density Olive Grove and Nursery situated at
WAIKERIE South Australia.
Can't sell your grapes
or citrus this year??
Links Archive December 2009 March 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page