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Local oil a world-quality drop

Saturday, 2nd July, 2011

TOP CROP: Local physician and Gourmet Co-Operative founding chairman, Steve Flecknoe-Brown, at the olive grove this week. TOP CROP: Local physician and Gourmet Co-Operative founding chairman, Steve Flecknoe-Brown, at the olive grove this week.

The city’s Gourmet Co-Operative has won another prize for their locally-produced olive oil.

For the second year running, they took out the Superior Taste prize for their oil at the International Taste and Quality awards in Brussels.

The Co-Op pick their fruit from three locations: Menindee, the city’s heritage trees and their olive grove just under the South overpass.

The judging panel give the oils a score out of three stars, similar to the Michelin star ratings.

The local oil was awarded two stars, and the Co-Op’s chairman Steve Flecknoe-Brown told the BDT the result proved last year’s win was not just a “once off.”

“Broken Hill is producing some of the finest olive oil in the world,” he said.

“This year our harvest will be a big one. Part way into it we have already more oil than ever before, without even starting on the city’s heritage trees.”

This year five tonnes of olives will be picked in the city and the Menindee plantation which is cared for by locals.

“We had a sneaking suspicion it was going to make good olive oil,” Dr Flecknoe-Brown said.

The hospital physician said the secret to making good olive oil was down to two main things.

He said the gorwing of the 800 grove trees was very “controlled”, which is how they produce the same standard each year.

He also said having a variety of olive trees helped create a different taste.

“We have lots of trees of different varieties that produce a spectrum of oil flavours.”

This year’s picking was spread over six weeks from the beginning of April, with the olive grove taking three weekly runs to harvest.

The olives are then taken to press in a Campagnolo Buonolio Top Press within 24 hours of being picked.

“We press about 200 to 300 kilos of fruit a day.

“We tend to press 300 to 400 kilos of fruit on a Sunday.

“But we can’t bottle it straight away because it’s still got a lot of pulp in it.”

Dr Flecknoe-Brown, a lover of “good food that’s good for you,” said there was a good reason for people to increase their olive oil intake.

“Olive oil decreases the risk of stroke.”

New York City journal ‘Neurology’ has published an observational study finding a high intake of olive oil is linked to cutting the risk of heart attacks in  people over 65 which may extend to a stroke.


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