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Australian Organic Olive Oil: A Labour of Love

What did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do when the earth was unraveling? Surely you did something when the seasons started failing?

These words from a poem by Drew Dellinger are written on a blackboard covered with inspirational quotes in Jane and Neil Seymour’s home in the Grampians. There are quotes from Ghandi, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Lao Tzu. These words are the ethos of their business, Mount Zero Olives. The Seymours are determined to leave the world in a better state than they found it, and this guides their farming practices.

Jane and Neil bought the Mount Zero olive farm in 1993. The grove had originally been planted in the 1940s, but when the Seymours bought the land it was overgrown, and had to be cleared to reclaim the olive trees from the bush. Since buying the farm, the Seymours have been completely off the grid, using solar and wind to power their farm and home. This respect for the environment extends through the use of biodynamic farming practices, where the soil is restored through plant and organic matter, and no artificial chemicals are used on the land.

The organic olive oil they produce is made from Manzanilla olives, which are harvested by shaking the olives from the trees. Some trees produce over 50kg of olives. Mount Zero olives are pressed during harvest season at a neighbouring farm, giving an oil yield of 20%.

Most of the organic olive oil from Mount Zero ends up on the plate, but LUSH uses the oil in products destined for the skin and hair. Olive oil is hydrating and full of antioxidants, making it a wonderful ingredient for use on the body as well in food. It can be found in:

...any many others.

The Mount Zero olive grove has experienced extreme weather conditions, including droughts and bushfires. During periods of drought the olive trees didn’t grow, and Jane Seymour describes maintaining the farm throughout those times as a labour of love. Olives are resilient trees, and many survived the 2014 bushfires, responding well under stress and giving the olives a rich flavour.

Drew Dellinger’s poem asks “What did you do once you knew?” and the Seymours answer is a farm that works in harmony with the landscape, creating delicious organic olive oil that is used around the country. From the solar panels, to the biodynamic farming, Mount Zero aims to leave the world in a better state than it was found in.

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