A pressing matter

Barfold Olives and 3000 Acres have teamed up to turn unloved urban olives into oil.
The local producer has pressed 2495kg of olives to yield 380 litres of olive oil from a city harvest in a pilot program to reduce waste.
Delivering the haul to Barfold last Monday, 3000 Acres’ project manager Claire Hetzel said the quantity had far exceeded expectations, “which was a wonderful problem to have”.
The Olives to Oil harvest began in the City of Boroondara last year, inspired by the large number of olive trees and their fruit that goes to waste.
“I’ve worked in community gardens for years and towns are constantly having the conversation about how they get together enough olives to be able to press. This is the pilot solution and people are pretty excited,” Claire said.
About 400 people added to this year’s harvest, sourcing olives from specially mapped trees, neighbours, friends and their own backyards. Their reward is a portion of the oil produced.
Participating for the second year, Barfold Olives’ Sandra Brajevic said she was happy to see the harvest grow from just 100kg last year.
“It’s a remarkable increase on last year. This a wonderful project that we are more than happy to be involved with,” she said.
Sandra said it was easy to gain points in a Melbourne game of ‘spot the olive tree’, which she devised with her eight-year-old son.
“You wonder what people do with them because there are only so many pickled olives that you can eat and want to deal with – so to have the olives not go to waste, it’s just such a great idea.”
The olives get weighed, washed, de-leaved, crushed and mixed before producing oil. Most picked through the program are table olives and produce less oil, but there are no complaints.
3000 Acres general manager Morgan Koegal said oil produced from the harvest was distributed among the community on Saturday based on the weight of olives contributed.
“We were a little overwhelmed with the results of this year’s harvest,” she said.
“After the community response this year, we’d be in trouble if we said it wasn’t to continue. People are excited.”
The program is supported through a community grant to cover the cost of the process including workshops, materials and cost to press the olives.

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