At Middelplaas, Matjiesvlei, olive oil and eating olives are produced in limited volumes as part of our activities to develop our property in a way that maintains the special atmosphere of our valley. When we acquired the Waterkloof and Middelplaas properties we renovated the houses for the use of our family and guests. We then opened up the farm with the development of the picnic site next to the Gamka River and the establishment of the hiking trails along the river, in Steering se Kloof and the circular hike. As enthusiastic consumers of olives and olive oil we thought that an environment that produces very high quality port style wines should also be able to produce high quality olives and olive oil that reflects the soil and climate of the Calitzdorp area.
So we started asking for advice on how to on a small scale produce quality olive oil that will be true to its origin. The first question we asked was what style of oil do we want to produce. We decided that oil for our taste must not be to heavy but with a spicy slightly peppery character without being bitter. The advice we received convinced us that the ideal oil would consist of a blend of forty percent Frantoio, forty percent FS17 and twenty percent Coratina oil. We proceeded to plant our olive groves in that ratio.
The actual style and character of our oil will vary from year to year as the yields of the cultivars differ from year to year. We do not blend to a specific style but accept the results of what nature hands us.
We tend to harvest our olives reasonably green as we believe that, although the yields are lower, it leads to higher quality. We are very strict that only healthy olives that are harvested directly from the trees should be used in the production of our oil. We do not use any olives that have fallen of the trees before the actual harvest. Harvesting takes place with small handheld forks onto nets. From there the olives are transported to the shed in crates. In the olive processing room the olives are washed before the extraction process begins. The fact that the oil is produced under our personal supervision on the farm with a small extraction plant, means that we can ensure that the quality of olives used is monitored and that extraction takes place on the day of harvesting or at least the next day. The oil is produced through a cold extraction process using a small high quality Italian built plant.
After extraction the oil is stored in small stainless steel tanks with floating lids to prevent oxidation through exposure to oxygen and sunlight. It is then bottled in dark green glass bottles with the use of a vacuum filler. All of this results in an olive oil with free fatty acid and peroxide levels way below the maximum levels of the International Olive Oil Council Specifications for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
We believe our Middelplaas Matjiesvlei Cold Extracted Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a true reflection of the soil and microclimate of the beautiful Matjiesvlei valley.
We have also planted a limited number of Mission olive trees. The olives produced by these trees are used to produce eating olives. Presently we only produce black olives. Recently we planted Kalamata olive trees but they are not bearing fruit yet. Once the trees start bearing we will expand our range of eating olives.