Got an olive tree? Geelong’s Community Olive Oil Project is a new way to get your own olive oil

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Got an olive tree? Geelong’s Community Olive Oil Project is a new way to get your own olive oil

The Geelong community has come together for olive harvest.

This one’s for the local foodies in the region! An innovative community group is making it possible for Greater Geelong residents to have olives from their backyard or nature strip trees processed into olive oil – for free!

When olive season hits, most people find it challenging to make use of the 10-50 kilograms of olives that large trees can produce. If you don’t know what to do with them, it can be seriously overwhelming. With businesses needing at least 1,000 kilograms to press oil, local residents have banded together to find a solution: the Community Olive Oil Project.

Keep up with the latest food and booze news across the region here.

The volunteer-run Barwon Oil Barons community group is hosting its third Community Olive Oil Project, with assistance from Council through a $4,921 2021-22 Environmental Sustainability Grant.

Community members will drop off their olives at either The Farm Next Door in Norlane, Belmont’s South Barwon Community Centre and the Bellarine Training and Community Hub in Ocean Grove on Sunday 28 May between 1-3pm. Registrations are currently booked out for this year, but keep your eye out for future announcements. This intitiative is too good to pass up again!

The olives will be weighed and transported to Mt Moriac Olives where the fruit will be aggregated, and processing will be organised by Geelong Region Olives.

Participants can bring their own containers to collect their oil once it is returned from processing on a yet-to-be-determined date, lessening the need for new packaging.

“The idea came to me when I moved to Belmont and my trees produced 120 kilograms of olives,” says Barwon Oil Barons founder Rosie Bright.

“We’ve found that people are thrilled to be involved because it’s too much to organise pressing on their own and they are keen to be reliant on existing local food sources.

“It’s a lot of fun to pick the olives but most of all, there is something so special about using olive oil you have contributed to, sharing it with friends and family and cooking with your own produce.”

In 2019, 580 kilograms of olives were turned into oil, while in 2021, the community picked a mighty 1,845 kilograms of locally grown olives.

Geelong Region Olives and Mt Moriac Olives have generously provided knowledge and time to facilitate the processing.

Barwon Oil Barons committee member Heidi Fog, who’s also a local carbon accountant and sustainability consultant, has also generously provided funding for equipment. South Barwon Community Centre is contributing support to this project as well.

The committee of volunteers who run the project consists of Rosie Bright, Alison Lewis-Nicholson, Jan Rockcliff, Heidi Fog, Lachie Chomley, Brendan Bolton and Stephen Parker.

For more information, visit the Barwon Oil Barons page on Facebook or head here