By Richard Seymour
This year will be our 25th olive harvest at Mount Zero. This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the first Mount Zero Olive planting by Joseph Friedman in 1947.
Joseph Friedman a Palestine born, Jewish immigrant, who collected olive samples from the Middle East on route to Australia. When he arrived, he searched for land that mirrored the type he saw to produce bountiful olive trees and fruit and settled on what is known as Mount Zero Olives today.
During my family's time at Mount Zero, we've had some really tough years and poor crops due to serious droughts, however this year’s crop of olives is simply one of the best that we've been lucky to have had.
Luck is also shining on us in the form of a wonderful new crew of olive farmers, 'our pickers', led by Mohammed.
Mohammed (pictured) has taken over from Neil to oversee the 2017 harvest, along with a wonderful and international crew hailing from seven countries, including: Taiwan, China, Germany, England, Malaysia, Japan, and Afghanistan. A wonderful mix that makes for some truly educational and interesting conversation at the farm!
Mohammed is deft at organizing and inspiring his workers. Together they start at daybreak and finish at sunset - working under changing weather conditions from frosty mornings to the occasional rainy day. As a team they have a great appreciation that time is of the essence when creating good oil. And at the end of the each day Neil has had large loads of olives to take to the processing plant.
In previous years, it has been very challenging to find labor to pick our olives, we have had to depend on backpackers, locals and climbers. It has been refreshing to work collaboratively on this year’s harvest with Mohammed and his motivated and effective crew.
We look forward to sharing this year’s harvest with you in the coming weeks and months, and hope you find it as satisfying to taste as we have bringing it to you.