Welcome to Felicity's Garden.
This is the home where, in 1996, our daughter Felicity was born and we planted the first of our 1,400 olive trees.
Caring for a family and caring for trees has many similarities. You want the best for them to grow and thrive, but also to provide inbuilt strength to support them when you can't be there with them every day. We like to think that we have achieved this on both fronts.
Our daughter has blossomed and thrived through her teenage years, combining hard conscientious study with athletic and recreational activities. Our trees have gone through seasons of drought and come through strong and resilient. I have not spoiled them with an over abundance of water and fertiliser, they have to work to find the water. The crops may not be as heavy, but it is medal winning quality every year.
The Extra Virgin Olive Oil that we produce at Felicity's Garden is certified Organic with NASAA, License No 6191. In fact our whole farm has organic certification.
Our grove has mainly Western Australian Mission trees, which are the same as grown in New Norcia, with some Frantoio. These varieties are hardy trees and produce an excellent percentage of oil from the fruit.
It is always a medium to robust oil, with green characteristics and a good peppery finish. Simply dip your bread into the pure oil, or sprinkle over roast vegetables or salads for an extra flavour lift.
In our range of Extra Virgin, Certified Organic Olive Oils we are pleased to offer the following choices:
Our 3 litre tin of Olive Oil with inbuilt pourer to decant into your own bottle, the economical choice.|
Olive Oil in 500ml bottles, 250ml bottles and the new Gift/Sampler size of 100ml, ideal to take on picnics.|
To complement the oils we also make our own Dukkah, a Middle Eastern blend of nuts and spices,
gently oven roasted to intensify the flavour.
This is traditionally eaten by dipping bread into oil then into the Dukkah.
Sprinkle over salads or coat meats before barbequing.
This comes in two sizes, 100g and 50g.|
We also make a black olive Tapenade with garlic, capers and anchovies,
ideal as a dip, mixing through pasta or coating meats with before oven baking.
Two sizes again, 180g and 90g.|
The first ten harvests of our olives were able to be done during school holidays so we could employ local students, with often their Mothers taking over when school went back or friends dragged in with the promise of a good lunch and a bottle or two of oil. Shortfalls were met using backpackers, (The Job Shop), who are always a hardworking cheerful bunch.
There was a lot of information shared in the grove, not just about olives. We have been a mini united nations chattering and wandering amongst the olive trees. Young students learned valuable lessons about the harder you work the more you earn.
Many hilarious days have been spent in the grove. The standard trick for "old hands" to play on new pickers was to tell them that they were allowed to eat as many olives as they wanted. There are probably records set as to how fast the bitter fruits were spat out again.
These were the gentle days, when I had time to prepare the pickers a leisurely lunch in the pergola. As the trees grew and the crops increased, so did the pressure of getting the fruit off the trees within the time frame for the best oil.
Being a certified organic farm means that we need all the processes in the chain to be certified organic too.
We are very fortunate to have another olive grove in the district which runs a certified olive press. It is to Cherith Grove (www.cherithgrove.com.au) that we send our fruit to have the oil squeezed out of them.
In 2012 for the first time, Bill brought his mechanical shaker over to our grove and harvested the crop for us. To ensure the best flavoured oil, the fruit needs to be picked at the optimum time. Bill and I now walk the grove, squeezing fruit to check colour and liquid. Bill then takes over, harvesting and processing the oil.
We do not bottle the oil on site. We found a company called Westcare in Bassendean that provides employment for people with disabilities. We are happy to help this business provide their service.
We are very fortunate that the tree to bottle processing of our product is all done within a 50km radius of the farm, providing local employment and community spirit.
Retailing is a fickle business. My outlets vary. I have many loyal private customers who constantly buy my oil and I am happy to deliver to them directly. I have stalwart outlets such as the Gidgegannup Bakery who always carry my range. My outlet list tends to change, keep an eye on this site for updates.
2125 Toodyay Rd, Gidgegannup - map - (08) 9574 6023
Swan Valley Visitor Centre
Meadow Street, Guildford - map - website - (08) 9379 9400
Good Life Midland
Shop 3, 58 The Crescent, Midland - map - (08) 274 3167
16 Craig St, Mundaring - map - email - (08) 9295 6796
Whicher Ridge Winery
200 Chapman Hill East Road, Chapman Hill (Busselton) - map - website - (08) 9753 1394
My favourite outlets are the markets, where I get to meet my customers, talk to them about the vagueries of farming, the heat, the lack of rain, the parrots eating the fruit, or the medals won.
You can find us on alternate even months at the Rotary Mundaring Sunday Markets
Nichol St Mundaring, 2nd Sunday of the month, 9am to 3pm. Come along to say hello and taste the latest oil.
We have tried online selling, but I find it very impersonal. I prefer an email to which I can personally respond and build a rapport with the person doing me the honour of purchasing my product.
Please contact Penny by email should you require information or price lists for wholesale.
We also make up packages for corporate gifts using a bottle of oil plus tapenade and/or dukkah, a refreshing gourmet change to the standard bottle of wine many companies give.
I hope that I have given you a brief glimpse into the world of growing olives and producing oil. It is an art, a skill, traumatic, exciting, passionate, hard work, ever changing but always rewarding. I can't think of a better use for my farm, or a more enjoyable way of keeping fit.
To your good health.
I am asked very often if I know how to pickle olives, so by popular demand:
- Wash the olives.
- Place in a large glass jar and cover with fresh water.
- Change the water daily for 10 days to 2 weeks.
- Drain water.
- Make a brine solution of 10% salt, i.e. 100gr salt to one litre of water.
- Pour brine over the olives. Place a food grade plastic disc over to hold olives under the water as exposure to the air will cause mould.
- Leave for a minimum of 3 months, can be up to a year.
- Rinse in fresh water.
- Now is the time to add your flavourings; garlic, rosemary, chilli, herbs, lemon peel etc, whatever you prefer. Layer olives and spices in smaller usable sized jars, as if too large, each time you dip a spoon in to take olives out you are pushing air in, this reduces freshness and keeping time.
- Make a fresh brine, this time weaker, 7% salt, i.e. 70gr to 1 litre water. Cover olives to about 80% with brine, top up with white vinegar. Top with thin layer of olive oil to seal from air.
- Leave about 2 weeks before tasting to allow olives to absorb flavours.
Note, you do not need to put any flavouring in; it can be just the salt, depending on your taste.
A word of advice learned the hard way; take notes on all stages, including flavourings. I know from experience how hard it is to replicate that perfect batch.
More Top Tips
A suggestion from Remy in Albany: "Use dukkah instead of salt and pepper on your breakfast boiled egg."
A suggestion from Larraine in Darlington: "Sprinkle the dukkah in your salad sandwiches."
Kate, a school friend of my daughter, uses the tapenade at breakfast to spread on her toast.
Share Your Top Tips
Send us an email to share your "Top Tips" for using Felicity's Garden produce.