From a mixed planting including Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino and Verdale, every year the Chalmers family produce a small amount of estate grown cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. In total Chalmers have just 620 trees so total production is only about 500 litres per annum. The only thing that goes into the oil is olives. It’s unfiltered and unadulterated.
Back in 1998 Bruce and Jenni Chalmers were planning to go into an olive oil venture with family friend and Mildura foodie legend Stefano de Pieri at their Two Rivers property at Kenley. The planting never went ahead and the property was sold shortly after but in anticipation the trees had been propagated in house at Chalmers Nurseries in Euston. Care was taken to select a good mix of premium Tuscan varieties which would impart the intense and bitey characters that every good table oil should possess. But also some more prolific varieties which yield consistently and ensure great results year after year.
After being tended for many years in the nursery as potted trees, awaiting a new lease on life, the trees were eventually planted at the Chalmers Heathcote property in 2009. The poly-varietal grove is somewhat buffered from the variabilities that can occur if there are seasonal weather challenges as each flowers and ripens at slightly different times. This effect also means that while some olives are ripe and juicy giving good returns of oil, others are still green offering the grassy and sharp bite that makes great olive oil so tasty. Cross pollination in a mixed planting can also greatly improve the fertility and productivity of the grove.