Our bestselling Yuzu Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil is back!
This marks the second year of our collaboration with the fantastic team at Mountain Yuzu, so we took this opportunity to catch up with farmer Jane Casey to chat this year's harvest, collaborating with Mount Zero and how she enjoys her yuzu oil.
Jane and her husband Brian Casey own and run the citrus farm in the foothills of the Victorian Alps, where in addition to yuzu they also grow small quantities of other cool climate citruses, including chinotto, sudachi and bergamot. With a climate similar to that of Shikoku in Japan – where many of the country's yuzu are grown – it seemed like the perfect spot to begin their farm, starting with a planting of 20 trees in 2012.
From there, demand has grown exponentially for this distinctive fruit - with Mount Zero one of the early adopters, collaborating with Jane and Brian to produce Yuzu Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil in 2021.
The fourth variety added to our citrus cold-pressed oil range, joining lemon, lime and mandarin, the 2021 press also took home a silver medal at the Australian Olive Oil Awards. We had such a fantastic response from our customers, chefs and restauranteurs that locking in a second run was a no-brainer.
"Last year, we did one tonne [of fresh yuzu]," Jane says. "Then we sold so much early! The response was fantastic. And we thought we'd do another half tonne, which we did later in the last year. So, we've done two tonnes of fruit this year."
Jane and Brian harvest much of the fruit themselves, with the help of just a few team members – and our General Manager Rich Seymour (pictured above)!
"Because Mount Zero order a lot now, it was a one day process, but now it's two days that it takes us to pick and pack all the fruit for them," Jane says. "Both years Rich has come up with a van, and we couldn't fit it all in his van this year! So Brian followed him straight to Shepparton to get it pressed that afternoon."
The freshly picked yuzus are crushed whole with Frantoio olives, in an Italian process called Agrumato. By pressing the fruits whole, we harness their freshness, creating a vibrant and zesty oil with a unique citrus flavour.
This year, the Mountain Yuzu team picked a little earlier at Rich's request, harnessing a different flavour for the cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
"It's an artisan product," says Jane. "So that means each year, it will be different, like with vintages – like wine. And so this year has a slightly different taste to last year."
Yuzu is also well-known for a being a little more on the 'ugly' side, but their flavour more than makes up for it! Mountain Yuzu are dedicated to ensuring as little waste as possible, easily aligning with our own ethos at Mount Zero.
"You need to have those companies like Mount Zero who take the not-quite-perfect fruit, because with yuzu you get a lot of imperfect fruit, with little marks on them... because it's perfectly good fruit."
It's been such a pleasure working with Jane and Brian for a second year, and luckily, the feeling is mutual.
"From the very first phone call I ever made, Mount Zero have been nothing but supportive, positive, and welcoming," Jane says. "Wanting to do it as a collaboration rather than just buying the fruit and putting it under their label. I was thrilled."
Jane's also had some time to experiment with the use of Yuzu Oil over the last year, preferring to keep it simple and let its zesty goodness shine.
"I think it's wonderful just on shellfish, and personally, I dip it in bread. Do you know people dip bread in olive oil and dukkah and stuff? I always say to people forget the dukkah! Whenever we have people at a barbecue, I always put out the bread and the yuzu oil because it's so lovely. But on fresh seafood, it's just really gorgeous."
Buy our new season Yuzu Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil here.
Love Jane's usage suggestions? Try CIBI chef Meg Tanaka's recipe for Kingfish Crudo with Yuzu Oil.