Gleaming olive-green Italian made machines greeted me as I was introduced to the factory by Nathan Casey, Operations Manager of Hawkes Bay’s Village Press Olive Oil.
500 - 600 tonnes of olives delivered to the factory each season come from 60,000 Hawkes Bay trees and are processed according to the variety of cultivar - Barnea, Frantoio, and Manzanillo are the three I am most familiar with.
12 years ago, Wayne and Maureen Startup started making olive oil under the brand Village Press. Today they are New Zealand’s largest producers of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, processing enough olives to make more than 100,000 litres of the golden liquid each year.
Once the oil is extracted the remaining finely ground by-product is destined for kitty litter and is also being trialled as dairy cow feed (mixed in with other things).
Al Brown, Ruth Pretty and Peta Mathias get their own branded oil from Village Press who bottle, label and pack the oil at the factory. Nathan also showed me newly labelled bottles with a big red heart destined for collaboration with the Returned Services Association.