Olive grower set for Porchetta Day

Jenny Norman

Producing a pungent, peppery oil from olives picked on her Carroll property is a real passion for olive grower and self-confessed food lover Jenny Norman.

Ms Norman finished harvesting olives on “Isaacs Grove”, a 1120-tree grove near Carroll, earlier this month and already the oil is shaping up well.

“We’ve got some really beautiful oil this year. I’m very happy with it,” she said.
Yields have been down this season, but the quality of the oil has made up for it, says Ms Norman.

The grove comprises three olive varieties, including kalamata and manzanillo, but it is the Italian corregiola olives which are the standouts in the business.

“The corregiolas produce a lovely, pungent, peppery, green oil which is loved by oil buffs and tastes fantastic simply drizzled over vegetables.”

Ms Norman and her corregiola olive oil will be part of Gunnedah’s upcoming annual Porchetta Day on September 26, which will focus on all things Italian.

“There are a lot of different olive varieties around and it is fortunate that we have one perfectly suited to an Italian theme,” she said.

“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the inaugural Porchetta Day – it sounds like it will be a great day in a beautiful setting.”

Ms Norman has always had an interest in agriculture and became actively involved in the olive industry in 1996 when she planted the first olive trees on her family property.

At the first harvest, four years later, she only reaped 30 litres of oil but, for Ms Norman, it was the continuation of a love affair combining agriculture and fine food.

“The first harvest only produced 30 litres of oil but I was ecstatic with it. I had no idea how far I had to go.”

“Isaacs Grove” now produces more than 3000 litres of premium olive oil each year, which is sold in fine food and chain stores throughout Australia, as well as several restaurants in Sydney.

In a coup for the grove, the oil has also reached far-flung destinations such as New York City: a visiting chef tasted the flavoursome oil and has been using the product for the past three years.

Despite the high quality of Australian olive oils, Ms Norman says marketing is a constant challenge, with imported oils flooding the market.

“Australian olive oils are just beautiful and, once you’ve tasted a good oil, you never go back.”

“But it is very competitive for shelf space so you have to be actively promoting your product all the time. In saying that, I haven’t had too many problems selling all of my oil.”