“Here we have about 4000 trees. This is where we started producing olives in the late 90’s. I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy and I have a lot of friends who are olive growers there. We try to do it very much the same as they would do it in Umbria
or places like that, so a lot of the varieties are ones that work especially well in the cooler Canberra climate.
“We’ve got 8 varieties of olives out here, and each variety has a slightly different flavour profile. The varieties we pick, the Frantoio and the Coratina olives, tend to have quite strong, robust oils which are very peppery and very bitter, but they have wonderful aromas. The oils we get from our other grove tend to be sweeter and gentler. So a combination of the two works really well.
“Quality starts in the way you look after your trees, during the harvest it’s how you look after your fruit. We process the fruit the day its picked. Then its how you store the oil after its processed. And finally its about blending the different varieties to get a flavour profile that you want. We only have one type of extra virgin olive oil. We try to keep it very consistent through the whole year. It’s in the blending that you keep the consistency. In this way we can create a good value, premium product that is consistent. We supply a lot of local restaurants. When you are dealing with chefs, they’re always looking for quality and consistency.
“Canberrans are motivated to buy local produce at markets, they like the market experience and meeting the farmers. Selling at markets is fantastic for us; we get a lot of feedback. It’s so nice to know what people actually think of it. A lot of the chefs come to the markets as well, its great to have them come by and give us their feedback. Canberran’s are really conscious of what they buy, what they eat, where it comes from and the quality of it, and we really appreciate that. The food culture here is great; Canberrans take their lifestyle seriously here and food is a big part of that.”
Charlie de Nanteuil, Founder and Head Grower – La Barre Olive Oils and Vinegars