Indigo Olive Oil
Photos: Jack & Ali Pockley and the farm
Olive oil is loved for its rich flavour and health benefits – and when it’s made just a few kilometres from our co-op we love it even more. Ali and Jack from Indigo Valley Olives chatted with us about their farm and their passion for looking after the land.
What do you grow and produce?
We make olive oil and grow a few lambs as well – the two go together very well.
How did it all start?
We bought our block of land at the top of the Indigo Valley in 1999: it was just 60 acres, one ring fence, three trees and a small dam – nothing else. Since then, we have planted thousands of trees, and nurtured our largely native pastures. Jack decided that a small grove of olive trees would be the best for us to grow on this land, because they tolerate a lot of drought and we felt we had a fighting chance of keeping them going here – the dirt is thin and we work hard to increase the organic matter in the soil. We put in about 200 trees and have kept it at that. Olives can easily become a pest species when they’re not picked and seed is spread by birds –we’re keen not to contribute to that!
Our trees are dry land olives and we don’t irrigate them – they just cope on what they get from the sky. This produces a luscious, rich and tasty olive oil. We went for oil- producing trees rather than table fruit trees. We pick once a year – a great time to catch up with friends and family who help us do the pick, and then take the fruit over to Rutherglen for pressing. We sell the bottled oil to friends, family and through the Beechworth Food Co-op.
What do you love about what you do?
We enjoy growing our own food and knowing what we’re NOT putting into our product! We love nurturing the land, and growing something that’s good for us and good for the countryside. Not only do the olive trees produce beautiful olive oil, they’re also really nice to look at and we love our trees – natives and exotics.
Why do you enjoy being part of the Beechworth Food Co-op?
It’s a great concept: buying food in season and with low food miles has got to be the best option. A local food co-operative benefits everybody.
What’s next for you guys at Indigo Valley Olives?
In terms of the olives and raising a few prime lambs, we’re happy doing what we’re doing. It’s more about doing a smaller something well, than a larger operation poorly. We both work, so have to fit in the farm around that.
It’s important to us to improve our soil, look after the land and see it develop at a sustainable pace. We’re keen on providing for the wildlife, particularly the birds, so we plant a lot of native trees each year to create wildlife corridors on our property. We know that we have koalas and phascogales about, and an increasing number of native birds.
To find out more:
While Indigo Valley Olives isn’t open to the public, keen visitors are welcome to call
Ali and Jack on 02 6026 9336 to arrange a visit. And of course, you can taste their delicious olive oil at the co-op!