Oakhurst Olives

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Oakhurst Olives one of the top performers at the 2021 olive and olive oil awards

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Oakhurst Olives was one of the top performers at the 2021 Olive and Olive oil Awards. We asked owner Pieter du Toit to tell us about Oakhurst Olives.

Please tell us when your company was founded and some of its history?

Lemoendrif in Tulbagh was a run-down peach farm in a beautiful corner of the Tulbagh valley when I first set my eyes on it in 2004. With a background in property management, I saw the potential of this site to satisfy my passion for creating a high-quality food product and bought the farm. Soon afterwards, Oakhurst Olives were established with inputs from the best expertise available locally and internationally and converted into a state-of-the-art showcase olive production unit.   Oakhurst’s orchards, oil mill, and processing facilities are just the right size to be owner-managed efficiently with the necessary attention to detail.

Oakhurst olives is now on the map as the go-to company for premium quality olive products. This is evident from the 27500 Facebook followers, 5000 hits on Google every month with associated website sales, and the popularity of the stunning on-site Tasting Room and sales facility. Oakhurst supplies national restaurant chains, 80% of the 5-star hotels, and top restaurants in the greater Cape Town area.

Oakhurst’s high lying situation on the slopes of Winterhoek mountains provides an ideal climate for quality olive production due to the cold winters, mild springs, long autumns, hot summers, and abundance of fresh mountain water. These conditions, together with relative isolation, suppress pests and diseases, and consequently minimal chemical spray interventions.

Oakhurst was planned and developed from inception to produce the best quality table olives and olive oil available, so cultivar choice and orchard layout favoured Kalamata as the main cultivar and the best international cultivars for olive oil as pollinisers. Orchards were laid out according to modern sustainable intensive methods where trees are kept small for easy harvesting by hand, and all-natural resources are used as efficiently as possible. Olive oil mill waste is returned to the orchard directly after pressing and spread in a thin layer on the soil as valuable organic matter, reducing the carbon footprint.

We currently have 32 permanent farm workers. We strive to provide the best environment and assistance for our staff. We run a mentorship programme through the SA Olive Association, and much to our delight, Carmelita Brink, one of the Mentees, won the 2021 SA Olive Worker of the Year award.

In addition, during harvesting time, we employ an additional 40 seasonal workers to assist with the picking. Olive harvesting falls after the grape harvest has ended, enabling the seasonal workers to continue earning an income.

What do you think are some of the unique products you have? 

Oakhurst Kalamata table olives are produced from the genuine sought-after Kalamata cultivar, a firm, meaty olive with a delicious flavour and texture, and attractive aubergine colour, ideal for natural slow processing according to traditional fermentation. Ripe fresh olives which are too bitter to be edible when harvested are transformed into this most delicious product by a natural controlled fermentation process in a salt brine, where, over the course of a year, fruit sugar is slowly transformed into acid, by selected yeasts. This acidity is then able to preserve the fruit without the need for any added artificial preservatives or pasteurisation.

Contact person: Charmaine Doubell

E-mail address: admin@oakhurstolives.co.za

Contact Number: 023 – 230 0842

Website Address: https://www.oakhurstolives.co.za

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/oakhurstolives

Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/oakhurstolives