14 Oct 2010

Growers join forces to market olive oil

3:16 pm on 14 October 2010

A group of Marlborough olive growers have set up a company to market and sell their oil under one brand.

The grower-cooperative called Ora Marlborough has 10 shareholders who grow a total of 15,000 trees in the Wairau, Awatere and Waihopai valleys. It has the potential to produce up to 25,000 litres of oil a year.

Shareholder Mark Heard, who owns Awatere River Olive Grove, says the fruit will be pressed at the Marlborough Olive Press, then the oil will be bottled and sold via the company's website.

Mr Heard says most of the growers involved only own a few hundred trees each and found it was uneconomic to set up their own label or send fruit to Nelson or Hawke's Bay to be pressed and bottled.

The cooperative's olive oil will be top of the range and is the first in New Zealand to have international trade certification.