Sunday, October 23, 2011

Olives New Zealand AGM and awards - 15 October 2011

A whole day of fun and events was planned, starting off with the AGM and lunch at Tatum Park. Thereafter we all went over to David and Helen's for presentations by two Spanish gentleman (organised by Goran Erdevicki from GEA): Juan Vilar and Javier Hidalgo - experts by all accounts on all things olive - followed by the fieldwalk in the Kapiti Olives grove (last year’s Olives New Zealand EVOO ‘Best in Show’ Award). The awards dinner was planned for the evening back at Tatum Park, followed by the semi-final WCR game between France and Wales.

Gerry and I decided to go for the morning and afternoon events only, as the dinner was another expense that we couldn't afford currently. We got to meet the chairperson of ONZ, Andrew Taylor, and a lot of other growers from various other areas. It is great to see so many enthusiastic people, passionate about the industry and trying to make things better for all. The presentations by the Spanish (both from GEA Westfalia) were quite informative, albeit focussed on Spain, which is much drier that NZ. Just to comprehend the scale at which they operate, is mind blowing. They also presented everybody with wonderful handouts (books on olives, victorinox knives, flash drives, notebooks, pens, etc.).

Afterwards we all headed outside for a walk amongst the olive trees of David and Helen. The good thing about having experts looking at your grove, is that they can immediately detect if anything could be wrong with the trees. Unfortunately (and fortunately) for David, they discovered that his trees have some mineral deficiencies as well as diseases. Apparently if the tips of the leaves turn brown, you need to up your nutrients in the form of potassium (if the soil is alcaline) or boron (if the soil is acidic). His trees also seemed to be pestered by peacock spot amongst others, and are losing their leaves at a rate. This will obviously effect flowering and fruit set. So, although David swore by his conviction never to use copper spray, it now turns out that he might just have to do that.

All in all a great outing, very informative and insightful. Pity we couldn't make the awards function as well. Some pics from the day:

AGM at Tatum Park, with David discussing some changes to the ONZ constitution.

Goran left and Javier from Spain.

Juan also from Spain.

Listening and learning at the Kapiti Olives grove field walk.

Attending these events provide excellent opportunities to learn more about olives.

David, Juan, Javier and another grower.

Can't remember what disease this is, but it looks like cigarette ash on the back of the leaves,
and it's a main cause for leaves to drop from the trees at an alarming rate.

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