20/09/2005 - 22:00

Local oils come into their own

20/09/2005 - 22:00

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Boutique olive oils from Harvey and Mt Barker were the big local winners at the recent Perth Royal Show Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition

Local oils come into their own

Boutique olive oils from Harvey and Mt Barker were the big local winners at the recent Perth Royal Show Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.

Forest Edge Farm from Mt Barker was named best WA oil while Harvey-based olive producer Kotai Estate received the award for best boutique oil.

WA olive oils have cornered a burgeoning gourmet market with recent success in national and international markets.

Under the auspices of the West Australian Olive Council, the Perth Oil Competition, which started in 2001, is regarded as one of the most prestigious of olive oil contests.

The body represents more than 200 olive oil producers, accounting for about 90 per cent of total WA olive oil production.

A growing recognition of different styles has helped boost the image of Australian olive oil in recent years. This year’s competition was 25 per cent larger than last year, mainly boosted by a doubling in eastern states entries.

Non-WA oils showed their class this year, with NSW producer Bentivoglio & Rylstone Olive Press snaring the best oil of the show.

Australian olive oil is enjoying strong recognition of late. With the many millions of olive trees planted in this country 15 to 20 years ago only now coming into fruit maturity, Aussie olive growers are for the first time seeing the fruits of their labour.

Consequently, now is an extremely exciting time to be an olive oil producer.

With an agribusiness already in boom, industry awards such as the Perth Show are important for both large and small producers. The event attracted entries from growers of the smallest and largest capacities – those who produce anywhere from 30 litres of oil through to those who are producing more than 250,000L.

Although no WA oils received gold medals, (five of the six gold awards went to NSW and Victorian oils) organisers of Perth’s event are hopeful of continued WA expansion for 2006.

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