A small organic olive oil producing business on the border of Kāpiti and Horowhenua has impressed at the national awards.
Waikawa Glen, in Manakau, just north of Ōtaki, won reserve boutique in the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oils Awards held in Wellington.
The company, owned by Lisa Buchan and partner Glenn Wigley, received more accolades at the awards, which also featured success by other local olive growers.
"We were absolutely blown away and very pleased," Lisa said.
Their olive grove became fully certified as organic this year after
an organic certification programme.
"A lot of people were telling us that if we were organic we wouldn't be sustainable."
The awards are an impressive result for the company, which is only into its third year of harvesting.
Waikawa Glen received a silver medal in 2018 and 2019
before this year's cluster of awards.
The couple's story started 13 years ago when they hatched a plan to find a place in the countryside to grow blueberries and make olive oil.
After an extensive search around
the country, the pair, with a keen interest in horticulture, bought a slice of land in Waikawa Beach Rd, which had the ideal soil
"We can get the cold chilling for the blueberries as well as the long hot days of summer for olives."
Waikawa Blueberries, at the front lower level of their property, has been going strong for about six years, while the olive grove, at the back higher end of the property, has been producing for three years.
It has been quite the transformation for a property that used to be bare paddocks.
Looking after a olive grove involves a fair bit of work for the couple especially as as its not their main source of employment.
The grove needs the right amount of water, branches need pruning, grass kept low, boron levels monitored and health issues kept at bay.
By mid winter the olives are harvested via a large machine before being taken to The Olive Press in Greytown where they're pressed and bottled.
The olive oil, in various blends, is sold
locally as well as at the farmgate during pick-your-own blueberry times.
The couple are keen to expand their product into more outlets, especially Commonsense Organics, once production is increased.
They've started using the Olives New Zealand Focus Grove Project pruning methodology which involves cutting certain branches off each tree with the aim of improving the productivity in future harvests a lot more.
Waikawa Glen won reserve in boutique, best in class and a gold medal in the boutique medium-blends category. Best in class for their frantoio in the boutique medium - single varietal category. Gold medal for its leccino in boutique mild - single varietal. Gold medal for its frantoio in boutique medium - blends. Gold medal for its koroneiki in boutique medium - single varietal.
Totara Tunnel won best in class as well as a gold medal for its leccino in the boutique mild - single varietal category. Gold medal for its frantoio in boutique intense - single varietal. Gold medal for its leccino - filtered in the boutique intense - single varietal.
Noble Estate won a gold medal for its Mission - M2 in the commercial intense - single varietal as well as gold medals for its kaffir lime in the flavoured citrus category and its chilli in the flavoured other category. Silver medals for its frantoio in boutique medium - single varietal as well as Mission - M1 in the boutique intense - single varietal.
Rata Olives won a silver medal for its leccino in the boutique intense - single varietal, silver for its frantoio in the commercial intense - single varietal, and silver for its tangelo in the flavoured citrus category.
Kapiti Olive Oil won silver medals for its frantoio blend, koroneiki blend, leccino/picual as well as picual blend in the commerical medium - blends category.