A NORTH East olive grove is putting its stamp on a world-renowned competition.
Gooramadda Olives won a gold medal for its Hardy’s Mammoth extra virgin olive oil at the New York International Olive Oil Competition announced recently.
It also won a silver award last year.
Gooramadda Olives owners Rob and Melanie Whyte welcomed the prestigious award, which was announced mid-harvest for them.
Mr Whyte said the table olive harvest began a month ago and the oil harvest would run until the end of May.
“It’s a strange aspect of timing that the results for New York get announced for last year's oil about the same time we are about to harvest this year's crop,” he said.
Mr Whyte said like their whole crop, the Hardy’s Mammoth was hand-picked.
“Every grower has their thing about what gives them the edge,” Mr Whyte said.
“One of our things is that everything is hand-picked; everything is picked with loving care.
“Only the very best olives go into the oil.
“The olive trees have a really good aspect and drainage.”
Mr Whyte said the Hardy’s Mammoth variety was first grown by the founder of the Hardy wine business, Thomas Hardy.
He said the nation’s peak industry body, the Australian Olive Association, had expressed interest in their oil.
“They asked for a sample of Hardy’s Mammoth to take to an olive oil symposium in Spain on the best new world oils,” he said.
“Having our peers looking out for this is as exciting as the New York awards.
“Five years ago we knew nothing about olives; we bought the property for the views; now so many people in the industry are waiting on this oil.”
Mr Whyte said it had been an unusual harvest this year.
“Whereas last year there was plenty of fruit this year producers across the region including ourselves are finding fruit lightly scattered on the trees,” Mr Whyte said.
“We have had to be incredibly focused on irrigation with the lack of rain.”
The Hardy’s Mammoth harvested this month will be released in October.