After a two year hiatus, we have just harvested 1.6 tonnes of olives from the grove. Coming from 400 trees, this is a light crop, but nevertheless a crop! In 2022 there was almost no crop at all in most of the Hunter Valley.
We now have our own olive mill. This means gone are the days of harvesting everything in a mad rush to send off to the big olive mill, we now can harvest each variety as it matures. Our new olive mill is very small, a nominal 40kgs per hour. In practice with setup and clean down it is more like 30kgs per hour! But it gives us complete control of our Shalumar Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The oil is currently settling, we will rack it off in the next two weeks, and then start bottling. Like 2021 our extra virgin olive oil is a rich, flavoursome, mild style oil.
Pricing for 2023 for our 500ml bottles is:
1 bottle $20
2 bottles $40
4 bottles $75
8 bottles $147
12 bottles $215
For early orders email me on email@example.com or text on 0419255949
Last year was quite tough, too much water! We could not get the tractor onto the grove or pasture for months. As a consequence we have some disease damage in the grove, and the pasture is difficult to walk on from the cattle sinking in to the ground as they grazed. Now we appear to be heading for dry conditions which will introduce a new set of stresses.
One outcome of the big wet is we learnt why we have no fish in our dams: we have some very large eels, one got washed over the spillway and stranded in one of the flood events. Farm dams either have fish or eels, never both apparently.
The Black Angus cattle continue to prosper. We are now transitioning to Angus Lowline cattle. As the name suggests these guys are about two third the size of a normal Angus. They are full of personality and a bit of mischief.
With support from Local Land Services we have fenced off the last section of unfenced creek on Shalumar. This involved a lot of fencing, relocating a water trough, and planting 600 tube stock trees and shrubs. Unlike 2022 we had some bad frosts in May 2023, so I expect we will have some replanting to do.
The other big project we are working on is subdividing some of our paddocks to allow for more rotational grazing. We are splitting 5 paddocks into 10 paddocks of around 2 hectares each. This involves fencing and 5 new water troughs.
So retirement for Jocelyn and I continues to be full on busy.