Nov 012014


Brisbane QLD AU

Brisbane QLD AU

It wasn’t long ago that the Australian province of Queensland suffered record floods. Now some parts have the opposite water problem and are suffering from drought. Three months ago the areas outside of the capital city, Brisbane, were declared drought-stricken and 15 olive growers filed for Drought Relief Assistance.

While olive growers in the northern hemisphere are harvesting, growers in the southern hemisphere are looking for the fragrant, snowy-white blooms that foretell a healthy olive crop. In the drought-affected areas of Queensland the blossoms are burned and brown.

The olive growers west of Brisbane haven’t had many good crops in the last several years, but they still know they have businesses to run. With the help of other Australian olive growers the Queensland growers have several options: buy olives from other groves and press them in their own mills, harvest directly from another grower’s land and again press them in their own mills, or buy bulk olive oil from another grower and bottle it for sale under their own label. But, regardless of these options lots of money in wages, equipment, pest management, etc. are lost daily.

While Queensland growers wait for November rains (good) or el Nino (bad) at least they have some financial relief in sight. I am hoping they get just the right amount of rain.

Here’s a run down on what the Australian Drought and Rural Assistance Program provides:

  • Income support
  • Farm finance
  • Farm management deposits
  • Tax measures
  • Financial counseling
  • Drought loans
  • Water infrastructure investment
  • Community support
  • Pest management
  • Interest rate subsidies

May the sun shine through your branches.

Jan 212012

After I wrote my sci fi fantasy olive article yesterday, I was doing research for another, more tame, Olive Crazy article. This time I wanted some technical stuff so I went over to the Australian Olive Association site for a look around. There it was – an article aptly named Technical Information. I started reading the technical information, but didn’t get far.

Somewhere after Corregiola and before Frantoio in the first sentence of the first paragraph I got hungry. It was time for lunch. Then I remembered that I’d run out of most of my extra virgin olive oil stash and needed to get some more. Hells bells! I really loved the California Olive Ranch Limited Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil that was about to run out so I went to the COR shop and started to agonize.

Me to me: Should I get the Limited Reserve again?

me back to Me: Well duh! It is Limited therefore it is cool and besides it tastes really good.

Me: Okay, I’ll order a six-pack this time. Mouse poised over “Add to Cart” button.

me: Whoa Me! They’ve got some other extra virgins to choose from. Let’s check them out.

Me and me: Ooooooo! Ahhhhhhh!

Me: Good idea me. I’m going to get one of everything and the biggest bottles they have.

me: Good job! Now get back to work so we can go eat.

For those of you who are curious here is what I bought. While you look, me and Me are going to step into the kitchen and eat a leftover hamburger patty and eggplant slices, gently warmed in the microwave and doused in what is left of the Limited Reserve.

Limited Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500 ml bottle) 1 17.97
Everyday California Extra Virgin Olive Oil (750 ml bottle) 1 15.99
Ranch Selects – Medium and Fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500 ml bottle) 1 15.99
Ranch Selects – Mild and Buttery Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500 ml bottle) 1 15.99
Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500 ml bottle) 1 13.99
Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500 ml bottle) 1 13.99
Miller’s Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500 ml bottle) 1 13.99


Okay, I’m back (Me and me agreed to return to I). Lunch was divine. Now for the technical stuff straight from the AOA website. I think it is very interesting. Fatty acids are amazing!

“About 90% of Australian olive oil is produced from 10 major varieties of olives, which include Arbequina, Barnea, Coratina, Corregiola, Frantoio, Koroneiki, Leccino, Manzanillo, Pendolino and Picual.  Olive oils contain phytosterols which are well known for their nutritive value which helps with the reduction of cholesterol absorption. Australian olive oils generally have high levels of sterols.

The recognised low levels of free fatty acids (FFA’s) and peroxide value (PV) in Australian EVOO’s indicates the high quality of harvesting, processing and storage.

Olive oils also have 13 other beneficial fatty acids including oleic, palmitic, linoleic and linolenic acids.

Oleic Acid:  Oleic acid is named after olive oil (olea).  Monounsaturated oleic acid is known to have health benefits. The content of oleic acid in Australian EVOO’s varies significantly and makes up 55% to 85% of olive oil.

Palmitic Acid:  This saturated fatty acid provides stability in oils which leads to a longer shelf life.  Australian EVOO’s are unique in providing the consumer with oils that produce very low levels of saturated palmitic acid.

Linoleic Acid:  Linoleic acid can vary from 3% to 23% depending on different regions and cultivars.  Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is less stable than saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. By selecting the fatty acid profile of the oil to suit the purpose, the best outcomes are achieved with the benefit of the optimum, nutritive olive oil.

Linolenic Acid:  Linolenic acid is an omega-3 acid, as it is found in fish oil fatty acids EPA and DHA. Linolenic acid is less stable and olive oil has useful levels of this fatty acid.”

May the sun shine through your C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-COOH producing branches.

Jul 222011

Here is a recent news broadcast from Australia’s Today Tonight. The video is called “Oils ain’t oils”. It is a clear poke in the eye of the International Olive Council.

I saw the video and have lot’s of questions regarding its claims. I am not a fan of the IOC but would like to see the data the video is based on. Truth is always more important than hype, and I would like the truth.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Jun 132011

Olive harvests in Australia have been coming in since April, with harvesting ending in July. Don’t forget folks, the Southern Hemisphere growing seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s fresh olive and extra virgin olive oil time below the Equator.

The Adelaide Review will be hosting it’s second “Olive Harvest” taste panel for South Australian olive oil producers. The taste panel will be held in September 2011 with the results reported in The Adelaide Review’s October issue.

The panel will consist of Richard Gawel, a consultant taster and blender for a number of Australian olive oil companies; Lisa Rowntree, who has spent the past 12 years in South East Australia growing and producing extra virgin olive oil for the domestic and export markets; and Brian Miller, who has lots of experience in fine food and wine marketing and promotion.

It’s definitely time to buy some wonderful fresh extra virgin olive oil from the countries on planet Earth’s southside.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Jun 012011

When people buy olive oil they want to know the quality of the oil they are actually paying for. Consumers want real standards, not marketing baloney dressed up to look like standards.

This month, Australia and New Zealand begin putting olive oil standards into place. Now consumers in those two countries don’t have to scratch their heads and wonder what “light” or “pure” olive oil means. “Light” and “pure” are fake marketing terms that mean absolutely nothing, at least when it comes to olive oil. The terms that do mean something are: Extra Virgin, Virgin, Refined, and Pomace. There are variations on these, but the terms actually mean something.

When I wrote the article Olive Oil Standards Get a Facelift, I was talking about the U.S. standards, which are very lame. The U.S. has lots of work to do when it comes to recognizing that their olive oil industry is a liquid gold mine, and that strong consumer and grower protection standards will protect the U.S. olive and olive oil industry, but that’s a story for another day. Bravo to Australia and New Zealand for thinking ahead.

The International Olive Council isn’t happy about the new AU/NZ standards, ’cause they’re busy trying to protect the exports of their few original member countries whose government-subsidized olive oil pricing structures are going away. The IOC is big on quality, but not when it comes to their core membership, and when their member countries’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) gets “busted” in lab and sensory testing the IOC Executive Director (the latest is Jean-Louis Barjol of France) pitches a fit and blames the countries who are looking out for their consumers.

Australia and New Zealand may not be doing it exactly “like it has always been done”, but they are doing what is right for their consumers.

May the sun shine through your branches.