"Western Australia, with its Mediterranean climate, is the perfect place to grow olives. Australians eat more olives than just about anyone outside of the Mediterranean. 95% of olives come from Europe. So why bring olives 12,000 when it can be grow right here?"
That was Eric Wickham's vision when he ventured into Kalamata, the delicious table olive not widely grown in Australia. The big growers can't get enough trees, because Kalamata is the only olive tree that begin as a grafted plant, so nurseries are not able to factory-produce them in great numbers.
A perfect 60 hectares in Gingin was found after five months of searching. The property ran on a gradual slope, ideal for an olive grove. Rows of parallel lines for planting were marked out and put in reticulation. 7000 little Kalamata trees were then planted. After years of regular watering in summer, weeding and fertilizing, the first crop of olives arrived in 2009. Wickham Farm followed organic practices. In contrast, European groves often need to use chemical sprays against Verticillium wilt and other diseases. Australia is blessedly free of these problems. By 2011, it was time to start producing and he bought in the best food-olive equipments from Spain that include stainless steel fermentation tanks, conveyors, washing machines, de-leafers, de-stemmers, de-branches, grading and pitting machines.
The olives are allowed to ripen naturally on the trees. They are not picked early when they're green and then dyed black, which is a common practice in Europe. The tree-ripened olives are put through a traditional fermentation process.
Wickham Grove also has its own processing plant, and the processing starts within two hours after the olives come off the trees. In Europe, there's a wait of two or three days. Also the olives from different farms in Europe are mixed at the processing plants. This makes it hard to keep a consistent taste and high quality.
Wickham Grove is very stringent about quality control and samples are taken from each tank and sent for testing.
Wickham Olive Grove in Western Australia produces Kalamata table olives with its own processing plant. Only West Australian products and labour are used in our orchard and processing operation.
These olives are delicious. Give them a go.