Based in Upper Moutere, Neudorf Olives has developed into an artisanal business with a focus on producing individual varietal oils which also reflect the direct influences of the climate and land of the Moutere Hills outside Nelson. Susan Pine chatted with the team about their true artisanal approach.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

We started producing Extra Virgin Olive Oil in 2008 having bought the property the previous year. We had not been specifically looking for an olive grove but were taken with the beautiful location with elevated views of the surrounding ranges and out to sea. We had previously lived in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and loved the food culture of these regions. Olives are a key ingredient. We also wanted to make something, and had previously worked in nursing and banking and liked the challenge and deeper reward of crafting something. We decided that we would develop the property and be involved in the whole process from tree to plate. We bought a small press on Trademe from a person pulling up their olives in the Hawkes Bay and soon realised that we needed a shed with a cool room, steel tanks and pumps and food premises certification.

What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

We produce three single varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oils; Frantoio (Tuscan in origin with fruity overtones balanced by slight bitterness and pepper), Leccino (Tuscan in origin with more pepperiness than the Frantoio) and Koroneiki (Greek in origin which along with fruit displays a grassiness which makes it quite distinct from the others).

We also produce two table olive recipes (Greek Kalamata Olives infused in our oil with lemon and rosemary and also one with Moroccan flavours from the infusion of Harissa, preserved lemon and cumin).

Finally, for now, we produce an Egyptian recipe Dukkah made as you would expect from various seeds, nuts and spices.

Has there been any recent company news?

We have been busy with the harvest and pressing of this season’s olives. The hot summer and warm autumn have helped to produce a great crop.

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

We will never be a huge business. We want the products to have an authenticity as a result of a true artisanal approach rather than that through a more automated manufacturing and marketing process. We will, however, continue to develop a few more Olive related items (Tapenade is certainly on the drawing board).

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?

We sell bottled oil in most of the local delicatessens in the Nelson/Tasman region; Prego Nelson, Fresh Choice Nelson and Richmond, Raewards Fresh Richmond, Neudorf Vineyards Upper Moutere, The Village Post Office Upper Moutere, On the Spot Upper Moutere, Mapua Country Trading Mapua, and Kete Tasman Mapua.

You can also find our oils at Moore Wilson in Wellington. We would like in due course to make our oils available further afield. We expect to approach one or two retailers in the Christchurch area for possible retail outlets for the new season oil.

We also supply a number of restaurants, cafes and lodges within the region.N-Olive_234