OLIVE pickling has become a passion for Wagga Wagga grower, Margie Carter, who sells her “Parafield Olives” at local markets, in Sydney and Melbourne and to speciality shops on the South Coast.
Her business, which started as a simple growing operation, now includes a thriving nursery to produce young rootstocks.
The decision to pickle the olives, apart from adding value, enables Ms Carter to demonstrate traditional methods.
Despite the oldest trees in the grove being a relatively young four years, her olives won first prize at the Canberra Show.
The Kalamata olives with stones had been pickled in salt brine for at least 12 months.
Parafield Grove, just outside of Wagga Wagga, now has 1700 trees grown under drip irrigation using bore water.
Soon after planting the first olives, Ms Carter set up the nursery to propagate her own plants. It now sells about 10,000 rootstock trees a year, many to other growers.
The pickled olives are sold at local markets and further afield.
Last season Ms Carter pickled 1.5 tonnes of olives off just 700 trees. The olives retail at $7 a kilogram lose, with packaged olives more
During busy times her 80-year-old mother, Connie, helps with the pickling. Harvesting of olives (all are picked green) began last month and will continue until July.