Our success has been by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ who has opened doors we could never have imagined. We are providing stores and individuals around South Africa, Namibia and Botswana and it's been very exciting to see this brand grow. The Olive Grove has been producing olives since 1999. Our olives are hand picked and carefully selected from various farms in the areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Wellington where the climate and soil is ideal for olive growth.
As our label says, our olive oil is cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. The 'cold pressed' indicates that there is no heat involved in the pressing process where the structure and goodness of the oil can be damaged. 'Extra virgin' indicates that the oil comes from the first pressing of the olives. Once the olives have been pressed, the left over pulp is not 'squeezed' again to try and get more oil out. Rather it is used on the land as fertilizer.
The olives that we use for oil as well as for the table are grown in the areas of Wellington, Paarl, The Riebeek Valley, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. We go out and see the different farmers, discuss what we need and they then deliver.
Extra virgin olive oil can be classified along two criteria. Firstly, it must have a free acidity of below 1% which can be measured in a lab. All our oil has been tested to well below that.
Secondly, there are the organoleptic qualities. This refers to how the oil smells, tastes and feels in the mouth. A good oil should have a fruity smell, often smelling distinctly like freshly cut grass. Just like different wines, olive oils differ in taste and which one you prefer is entirely a personal opinion. We describe our oil as very fruity with a slight peppery taste and is a blend between the Mission and Frantoio cultivars. Bringing these together creates a lovely light oil with distinctive taste. The Mission olive has a very soft taste with a little pepperyness. Frantoio however, has a strong pepper flavour which is particularly noticeable in the back of the throat after swallowing. Frantoio is a purer oil olive and is not prepared as a table olive. This pepperyness is affected by the cultivar of the olive, at which stage it is picked (the greener, the more peppery) and how long it takes for the olive to get from the tree to the press. The pepper flavour is caused by the antioxidants that are so good for us and help to preserve the oil. Factors which damage olive oil include excessive movement, exposure to light (which is why we bottle our olive oil in dark glass) and exposure to temperatures above room temperature. It is, however, not advised that olive oil be refrigerated. Lastly, A good oil will not leave a residue in your mouth, much like fish and chips do. It disappears after tasting leaving your palate feeling clean.
Bringing these criteria together, we feel that we have developed an olive oil of excellent quality that can be thoroughly enjoyed with good food and a healthy life.
The Legend of the Ancient Olive
Olives... the fruit of a tree known to man since ancient times. Origins of the various cultivars date back to South Western Asia and the Mediterranean where olive trees grew along riverbanks and dropped their bitter, ripe fruit into the water where it was washed down to the saline ocean by crystal clear waters. The local people observed that the olives rinsed ashore by the ocean waves were no longer bitter, but had acquired an exquisite taste. They began to experiment with various methods of processing the bitter fruit by washing it in fresh and saline water until they achieved a taste as delicious as the olives washed ashore by the ocean.
At The Olive Grove we have tried to continue this age old process. For our table olive production we use the Mission olive. Table olives are hand picked and delivered to us within 24 hours. We then put them through a 10% brine solution for anything from 3 months to a year. We monitor the fermentation process specifically checking the salinity and ph and we also 'turn' the water using a pump every month. This ensures the salt is spread evenly through the drum and also brings oxygen into the water, without which the olives can get damaged.
We only take the olives out once we need to bottle them. This slow process ensures the flavour of the olive is maintained and creates an olive that slips easily off the pip making eating them an absolute pleasure. Our original olives are bottled with garlic and herbs and were so popular that we decided that to start selling them. Increasing the 'basket' we added the 'Chilli Olive' which also turned out to be a hit. At about the same time we developed our flagship product - olives with sundried tomatoes. These olives are depitted and have been a raving success at every show we've been to. They generally sell two-to-one and make a very easy meal to be enjoyed with pasta, potatoes, on rolls, through a salad, with a meat dish or in a roast veggie dish!