Putting the ‘extra’ in extra virgin olive oil — meet the makers at Wollundry Grove Olives

Putting the ‘extra’ in extra virgin olive oil - meet the makers at Wollundry Grove Olives

At Farm Door, we’re committed to farm-fresh ingredients – that’s our undeniable number one when choosing stockists. After all, local means we lock in the nutrients, great for your health. Local means we operate with low food miles, great for the planet. Local means we support smaller scale regenerative growers passionate about the health benefits of chemical free produce as well as improving soil health and carbon capture for future generations. 

Olive oil can be found in most kitchens and forms a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Not only delicious, its many health benefits include being rich in antioxidants, having anti-inflammatory properties and is even linked to preventing strokes and heart disease. Being such a miracle ingredient, we’re lucky to have an olive grove right on our doorstep in the Riverina Food Bowl. Enter Bruce Spinks and Joo-Yee Lieu of Wollundry Grove Olives.

Wollundry Grove Olives

The olive oil journey

Wollundry Grove Olives is a 2000 olive tree farm, planted in the traditional olive grove style. Olive harvest in the Riverina usually begins in April/May and can last for a few months. When it’s time to pick the fruit, the olives are mechanically harvested and processed within 24hrs to retain freshness. They then go through four stages:

  • A hammer mill, which crushes the whole fruit including the seed,
  • A malaxer (kneader), which agitates the paste for oil droplets to come together,
  • A centrifuge, which separates the oil from water and pomace waste, and
  • A vertical separator, which removes residue sediment and water.

The oil is then stored in stainless steel vats in an atmosphere-controlled cool room (free from light and air) for a couple of months, in order for the sediment to settle.

Before reaching the shelves, their oil is certified under the Australian Code of Practice to be classified as extra virgin olive oil. Keeping the whole process in-house means Bruce and Joo-Yee can guarantee the highest standards and quality, from the tree to your table. Bruce and Yoo-Lee oversee every step of the process, explaining “our olives reflect the unique role that small, committed producers play in setting quality and flavour standards.” Continuing, “Larger producers find it difficult to match our dedication to the quality and character of our products.”

The farm also produces a range of table olives, vinegar and even olive oil soaps!

Just across the paddock

Just across the paddock

We love visiting Bruce and Joo-Yee at the Wollundry Grove farm. No matter the season, there's always excitement in the air as the trees change, olives grow and harvesting begins. Just a 5-minute drive from the Farm Door Kitchen, we’re fortunate enough to be able to pop across the road and pick up our barrels of local olive oil. It’s so fresh and delicious that you can drink it straight from the barrel, though we’re partial to dipping freshly baked bread for the ultimate snack.

Growth, expansion and great tasting oil.

After taking over the plantation in 2010, Bruce and Joo-Yee began an “intense makeover and upgrade” of the olive processing plant. Steps like minimising water waste and adding solar panels have created a greener approach to farming. They also:

  • Reuse pomace and leaf waste from the oil extraction process as a fertiliser which is spread back into the grove,
  • Maintain ground cover within the grove to reduce erosion,
  • Are making conscious efforts to use materials in our packaging that can be easily recycled,
  • Minimise our use of plastics where possible.

Their sales and tasting room is open to the public, so why not stop by and see their eco-farm for yourself. Don’t forget to sample the tastiest olive oil in the region whilst you’re there! Find their olive oil in our Farm Door fresh pasta range.

Wollundry Grove Olives

Photography: Wollundry Grove Olives