Welcome to our Wednesday "Stall Profile of the week" with David & Jo Gilmore - Flaxbourne Olive Oil, Austen Lloyd P/ship.
In this series you'll get to know our fabulous stallholders from a more personal side - this is their story told by the stallholders themselves.
Our product range? Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hazelnut and Basil Pesto
Our story and who we are? We grow, pick, press and bottle the olives on the estate in Ward, Marlborough. This 100% extra Virgin olive oil is a natural product with no additives. It is produced with a first cold press – the only press. Kept in a chilled room at 12 degrees centigrade, the oil is stored in large stainless steel cans for 6 weeks before it is bottled.We grow several varieties of olives Leccino, and Frantoio, being the most commonly grown in Italy and they grow very well here in Marlborough. Other Italian varieties we grow are, Moraiolo, Minerva, and Pendolino. Also on the grove are Spanish olives Manzanillo and Picual. Also, a French variety, Picholine. Good friends of ours in Wiltshire UK, introduced us to olive growing and the process of pressing olives for this wonderful oil. They own a little olive grove in the foothills of the Apennines on the Adriatic coast of Italy, with 45 trees. We learned to pick the olives with their family and watched the process of oil production in the co-operative press in the town.
We helped them pick every year in October for about 7 consecutive years and David went over to help prune as well in the spring. It was such an enjoyable time that we totally fell in love with the whole lifestyle and soon realised that it was what we wanted to do when David finished his career.
We also have 140 hazelnut trees. We harvest the nuts as they drop all through March. Most of them we sell as nuts but we also make hazelnut and basil pesto. We grow all the ingredients; hazelnuts, garlic, basil, olive oil but not the Parmesan cheese.
Through the summer months, we host tour groups from the Molesworth Tour Company, giving them a tour of the grove explaining how the process of olive oil is produced and giving them a taste of the subtlety different varieties. We end the tour with a casual light lunch in our courtyard. We also have other groups/organisations for morning tea and a tour during the year.
What is our point of difference in comparison to others that do the same? Our point of difference I suppose is that we keep our olive oil pure with absolutely no additives or flavours, it is straight from the tree to the bottle almost. We never sell oil that is older than one year.
Our Hazel & Basil Pesto is fairly unique as I have not seen it anywhere else.
What's our favourite thing about what we do and why? We are very proud of our product, its hard work but the property is ours and we can do as much or as little work and we want, its a beautiful property and the olive trees make it special in so many ways. It's a joy to see happy faces on our satisfied customers too when they taste our products.
Our Values? Although we are not certified Organic, we keep any herbicide spraying to an absolute minimum, mainly just where we can't use the mower. The only fungicide we use is copper and we have to spray the Boron on as NZ is deficient in that mineral. We recycle our bottles and jars when people bring them back and give a small discount on their next purchase.
Why we love trading at the market? We love the markets we attend and Christchurch Farmers' Market is the highlight of the weekend. The atmosphere is buzzing and the other marketers are great for morale when you are a bit tired after a busy Friday night.
We attend 3 markets in one weekend every month which is our main income. Coming from the top of the South in Marlborough its a big commitment being a 4.5 hour journey and before SH1 re-opened it was a 7.5 hour journey, but we had to carry on as we have a good many regular customers, and we cannot disappoint them.
Another special thing about us? The foods at the Farmers Markets these days are amazing.There are tastes from all over the world and it is a real joy to be part of it.
To talk some more or even better, to try some of our products, come and see us at the market. We attend on a seasonal basis and are always there during season on the last Saturday of the month.
To find out more, follow us on David & Jo Gilmore - Flaxbourne Olive Oil, Austen Lloyd P/ship www.flaxbourneoliveoil.co.nz