Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kapiti field walk

Uncertain whether we should join the NZ Olive Association, Olives New Zealand, we decided to attend a field walk and pruning demonstration hosted by Kapiti Olives. Owners Dave and Helen Walshaw were kind to let us attend and see how it goes before we make our final decision.

Olives NZ seemed to be more directed towards the oil industry, which I immediately thought would not help me much, but soon realised that everything you can possibly learn about growing olives will be the same. It is still an olive tree, right?

So on 22 May we drove down to their Kapiti farm to meet other people from the industry. It was raining while driving there and since a big group of about 40 people were expected, Dave had to clear his shed to make room for discussions and mingling. After explaining what Olives NZ had to offer, it's history and budget, Dave went on to talk about harvesting and how they go about it. All of this is new to me, except for what I have read on the internet and in books thus far.

Keeping to the programme, rain and all (we're almost starting to get use to this :)!), we headed outside for a walk amongst the trees and Dave also let us squash a few olives at different stages of ripeness - some varieties ripen earlier than others - to feel the difference. Kapiti olives' trees seem to be in excellent condition. Beautiful trees and just walking amongst them must rate (at least for me) as a very memorable experience. They have a stature about them that is hard to explain. Dave quickly demonstrated a wee bit of pruning, before the rain really started to wrap things up.

Afterwards, drinks and snacks were served, courtesy of Anne (?), the treasurer of the Kapiti Regional Committee. More mingling and meeting people before driving home.

Some pics from the event:

Dave in the beige jacket giving a talk and Helen, his wife, on the far left of the picture.

Dave talking about the fruit and when to harvest.

I have to admit that I have never before had the opportunity the squash a fresh olive to pulp!

Graeme (ex-partner and friend of Kapiti olives), also an expert on olives, standing on the left in the back
with the navy jacket.

Dave inside the tree and me on the right trying to see what he's doing.

Taking out a big branch as well as some "water shoots"/suckers growing towards the middle of the tree. Pity about the rain though ... I would have loved to see and hear more in this regard.

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