Bernard Mahon of Watercress Creek Olives and Limes at Pine Mountain is hosting the Watercress Creek Olive Festival. Photo: David Nielsen
Bernard Mahon of Watercress Creek Olives and Limes at Pine Mountain is hosting the Watercress Creek Olive Festival. Photo: David Nielsen

Gourmet delights at Olive Fest

IT IS a festival guaranteed to get the tastebuds tingling, with the best in local gourmet produce to be found in Pine Mountain tomorrow.

The annual Watercress Creek Olive Festival offers people the opportunity to pick their own olives fresh from the trees, as well as sampling other gourmet delicacies such as Towri Sheep Cheeses and Bunjurgen Wines.

Watercress Creek Olives is run by local couple Bernard and Lorraine Mahon.

Mr Mahon said the business had started as an “experiment” more than 11 years ago to see what would thrive on the former dairy farm.

He said the property had first been settled in 1862, with five generations of his family having farmed the property.

“At the time the family farm had been divided up and we were looking for a viable thing to grow,” Mr Mahon said.

They now have more than 1300 trees on site, averaging 10 years of age.

Mr Mahon said the main variety of olives they grew were manzanillo, a large rounded oval fruit, which was said to be exceedingly rich when pickled, and frantoio, which had a pleasant nutty flavour when pickled.

Mr Mahon said it was the third year they had held the festival, which was sparked initially from public inquiry.

“We had so much interest, with people turning up wanting to have a look and pick olives,” Mr Mahon said. “The first year was invitation only, the second year we didn’t advertise heavily and the third year we are going one step further.”

He said olives had grown to become a dietary staple for many Australians.

“Most people like olives or come into contact with them at parties,” Mr Mahon said.

“Ours are a bit different to ones you find in the supermarket.

“It is not a big production machinery production line, we are very hands-on.”

The festival will be held from 10am to 4pm at 53 Bryces Rd, Pine Mountain.

Olive facts

  • The first record of commercial olive cultivation dates back more than 5000 years.
  • Between 4-5kg of olives are needed to produce one litre of olive oil.
  • An olive tree starts to produce between five and 10 years, and its production starts to decline after it is 100 years old.

Courtesy of www.olivegrower.com.au



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