Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Greg from Grampians Olive Co.

Something a little exciting is happening tonight! After just over 3 months getting to know some amazing beauty Makers, tonight we are doing something a little different.

I’ve always wanted to celebrate all Makers, even Chefs, Restaurant Owners etc. It’s just I thought beauty was a great place to start. In saying that, tonight, we are chatting with Greg from the Grampians Olive Co. I met Greg roughly the same time that Meet the Makers started, when I visited his family farm and did a wonderful tour of the grove. You can read about our visit here.

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The Grampians Olive Co. is a wonderful family owned business. The day I was there, Greg’s father was working on the machines and I’m pretty certain that Greg’s brother made our coffees.

What I love also, is the grove is certified organic, they rely on rainfall to water the trees and use sheep to not only fertilise the soil but eat the bottom of the trees to keep them in tip-top shape.

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R. Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us, I imagine you are quite busy with the upcoming birthday celebrations! Tell us, what lead you and your family to this point?

G. My family and I took over nurturing the olive grove which will be marking its 75th year this Spring for a change of pace in life and to get back to nature. When we took over the grove in 2008 it was already a flourishing business that had cultivated a reputation of being Australia’s best producer of premium quality organic olive products and today, we honour its history and through our careful custodianship of the land, we are devoted to its best practice and organic principles.

R. As a family business, where you are all contributing to the growth and day-to-day running, I’d love to know what any given day looks like for you?

G. I can go from packing orders to ship directly to our customers, to opening our farm shop mid-morning, serving up some of our delicious platters for lunch customers to taking a drive around the grove in the afternoon to check on our olive trees and how pruning is coming along – which is after our year’s harvest.

R. I haven’t had dinner yet, and now I am dreaming of that platter with the gorgeous dukkah and the Grampians Olive Co. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – yum! What would you say is the biggest challenge in business?

For us here at Grampians Olive Co, we are always at the mercy of the weather – our location at the foot of the Northern Grampians was chosen specifically for its ideal Mediterranean climate which is required for producing quality organic olive oil – that is hot dry summers and cool wet winters but as you know you can’t always predict what the seasons will do.

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R. You definitely can’t predict what the weather will do, especially in a place like Melbourne! Why is the use of organic/natural ingredients important to your business?

G. Our olive grove has been certified organic by NASAA (Cert. No. #3232P) and organic farming practices have been employed since the beginning when our trees were hand planted in the virgin soil. When it comes to feeding our family and growing food, we wouldn’t have it any other way – and nor should our customers.

R. As time moves forward we are incredibly lucky to be able to access more organic produce for our families, especially as farming practices evolve. 

Everyday brings new challenges, how do you overcome those?

G. I thrive on change and challenge – providing you look at every challenge as an opportunity.  Whilst it can make business a little stressful, challenges can make businesses fun, adaptable and interesting.

R. We mentioned that the business is celebrating its upcoming 75th birthday, anything new or exciting on the horizon?

G. Just recently we released our 2018 Olio Nuovo – each harvest season we bottle Olio Nuovo (new oil) – a special limited release of unfiltered cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from the first olives harvested each season. Picked, cold pressed, unfiltered and bottled within 24 hours while still cloudy – the flavours are amazingly vibrant and fruity, as fresh as you can get! We still have a few bottles so get your order in so you don’t miss out.

Our 2litre cask, whilst it’s been available for many years, is an exciting way to buy our Grampians Olive Oil – not only is it easier to open than a tin but it preserves the quality and integrity of olive oil, meaning it stays fresher for longer.

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R. I remember trying the extra virgin olive oils treat from the press, the flavour was amazing and incredibly deep. 

If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?

G. It’s an easy answer – we’d be travelling the world.

R. Geez that’s the dream isn’t it! Outside of the business, what hobbies do you enjoy?

G. I am passionate about growing organic vegetables and hiking…but between running my own business and my growing family, I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies!

R. I speak often about purpose, and have it answered in nearly every interview – have you figured out yours?

G. I am a perfectionist, my purpose is to do the best I can in everything I do every day (for my own satisfaction) – something our customers benefit from.

R. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of running a business, it’s sometimes nice to sit down and reflect on it all. Do you take time to reflect and practice gratitude?

I am incredibly grateful to be doing what I am doing everyday, something both my family and I love. Sharing sample product with our customers and giving to charity are just some of the ways we show how thankful we are to be doing something we truly love.

R. Days can be long in a small business, with a never-ending to-do list! What is your favourite part of the day and where do you draw inspiration from?

Being greeted by kids when I come home – working on the olive grove is a full-time job and I can often be up way before they rise in the morning.

I am inspired by my family, our beautiful grove and of course our customers that love what we do – all the reasons I need to jump out of bed and appreciate what I have got.

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R. With the long days, comes the need to look after yourself and acknowledge what you are putting in. Any self-care tips?

G. Running a business doesn’t stop – so I do need to remind myself regularly to switch off and just enjoy what I have around me.

R. Switching off, one of the hardest things for any small business! Especially in this day and age where you can be contacted easily anywhere in the world.

Finally, where is your favourite place in there world where you can just relax?

G. Hiking in the Grampians – just a hop, skip and jump from home.

R. Amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, I absolutely love what you and your family are doing for organic farming.

I wish you all the best for the upcoming 75th birthday celebrations!

Enjoy the read all, and have a wonderful Saturday night!

Renee
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Food Photography, Recipes

Chilli Crab with Squid Ink Linguine

I absolutely love seafood and carbs. Hands down, they both rock my world. I was walking through South Melbourne Market and spotted some amazing looking Squid Ink Linguine from The Fresh Pasta Shop.

My mind started ticking, what would be perfect with this dish?

After some serious deliberation with my Husband we decided that chilli crab would go well with it, especially with a little heat from the chilli on these cold Melbourne nights.

We also picked up a yabbie, because I thought it would look good on the plate – I’d never actually tried yabbie.

Ingredients, serves 2

  • 2 serves of Squid Ink Linguine, ours is from The Fresh Pasta Shop at South Melbourne Market
  • 2 long red chilli
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Meat of 2 Blue Swimmer Crabs
  • Grampians Olive Co Chilli Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

  • Dice onion, garlic and chilli separately
  • Bring two pots of salted water to boil
  • Place the crab and yabbie into boiling water, cook the yabbie for 10 minutes and the crab for 15 minutes.
  • Once cooked, place the crab and yabbie into an ice bath to stop the cooking process
  • When the crab has cooled, pick the meat and discard shells
  • Place Squid Ink Linguine in the second pot of water and cook for 7 minutes or until ‘al dente’
  • Heat oil in a pan and saute off onion and garlic.
  • Add chilli and the crab meat to the pan and mix well. Add additional Extra Virgin Olive to create a sauce
  • Once the pasta is ready add to the sauce, zest a lemon and add chopped dill.
  • Add some of the pasta pot liquid to the pan to help emulsify the sauce
  • Plate to create height and use the yabbie to garnish.

What you will create will be sure to wow your guests, we served this dish on a light blue bowl which made the Linguine and the yabbie pop!

Anything else you would recommend for this dish?

Enjoy!

Renee

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Food Photography, Recipes

Fig & Almond Olive Oil Cake

I was searching for recipes where I could utilise the delicious organic extra virgin olive oil we picked up while we were at the Grampians Olive Co a few weeks back.

I stumbled across this recipe online and instantly feel in love, especially since it didn’t call for any added sugar and that the honey was used as sweetener.

You can find a link to the website here.

I also loved how the recipe was fairly simple and that the only real expense is the almond meal (the recipe calls for almond flour).

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Here is what you will need to whip up this gorgeous and delicate cake.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of Grampians Olive Co Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 8-10 fresh figs, slice

Method

  1. Heat over to 180 degrees
  2. Use olive oil spray to grease the cake pan and line the tray with baking paper
  3. Gently whisk lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, olive oil,eggs and salt
  4. Add your almond meal and baking powder and continue to whisk till all combined
  5. Pour batter into your cake pan and place figs decoratively in tray
  6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, the top will go a lovely golden colour
  7. Once cool remove from cake pan

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This would be delicious with a thick cream and a drizzle of honey, the perfect dessert on a cold winters day!

Enjoy!

Renee

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