Charleville olive growers take bronze in international competition

Red earth, cold winters and hot, dry summers – you could be walking through the Italian countryside but instead it’s the landscape at Charleville that’s being credited with providing the foundation for an international olive oil award that’s a first for Queensland.

Karen and Bill McLennan, who have been operating Sommariva Olives east of Charleville since 1996, have just won the southern hemisphere bronze medal at the annual Los Angeles Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards, from a field of more than 650 entries.

“We’ve got to fix the hole in the roof that Karen made when she found out about the medal,” is how Bill describes the excitement the news generated.

For boutique growers who have been trying to diversify their cattle operation amidst a market of bulk production and ongoing drought, it’s come as a wonderful reward for years of investment.

“We like to employ best practice – as a boutique grower we can’t compete on quantity so we’ve got to rely on our quality,” Karen said.

A centrifugal processing machine that separates oil from the pulp, food grade nitrogen that acts like a blanket in keeping oxygen away from the oil, and temperature-controlled storage are all elements, expensive at the time, that have played a part in the medal win.

Read the full article:  Sommariva has the “Good Oil” at Charleville

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