Written by: Clifford Roberts; Photography: Johan Viljoen
The Swartland region is famous for its wine and olives too. In fact, there are six Swartland olive farms you must visit all because they’re actually helping to save the world.
That’s right. According to the United Nation’s International Olive Council, olive trees “have a positive carbon balance”, apparently taking more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than is emitted during the production of olive oil. It is “a key weapon in the fight against climate change”.
“The message is clear: choose olives to protect our planet and our health,” it declared, soon after succeeding in 2019 to get UNESCO to appoint November 26 as World Olive Day.
For the Swartland, a centre of excellence for quality olives, this is an important occasion. For olive fans, it means that mezze platters may no longer be bourgeois but a duty!
There is a myriad of ways to learn about olives in the Swartland. Good places to start are:
- Watch the Youtube presentation, Hitchhikers Guide to the Swartland, here https://swartlandwineandolives.co.za/swartland-olive-producers/
- See how to get to the producers, at https://swartlandwineandolives.co.za/map-of-the-swartland-wine-and-olive-route/
- And, read an earlier blog, at https://swartlandwineandolives.co.za/swartland-olives-are-more-than-just-an-ingredient/
The 180ha Lammershoek farm is situated in the Aprilskloof of the Paardeberg, which is famous for its granitic soils. The small, 3ha grove of olives thrive on its slopes. Currently available is fresh olive oil from vintage 2019, cold pressed from the farm’s own olives. It sells in 500ml bottles and can be ordered directly from the Lammershoek website.
Kloovenburg’s Du Toit Family are olive pioneers in the Riebeek Valley. Its first olive trees were planted in 1989. For fans of olive oil, remember
- To visit Kloovenburg’s latest addition – the Eight Feet Village retail and dining node surrounded by the farm’s olive trees and located at the top of the Bothmankloof Pass.
- Kloovenburg’s Wine and Olive Club awards amongst others, a 10% discount on wines and a 5% discount on olive products to new registrations via its website.
- The estate offers a variety of olive-associated products too, such as jam, tapenades, dipping oils and dressings, as well as a range of bath and body products.
As if having olive trees alone isn’t enough as a pro-environment crop, Dragonridge’s grove is organically farmed too. It has 2ha of trees which include cultivars such as Lecchine, Mission, Coratino, Frantoia, Kalamata and Nocellara del belice. From these are produced oils, available for purchase on the farm’s website, and olives.
The renowned diversity of olive products at Het Vlock Casteel is largely due to the innovation of food scientist Ansie Vlok. Highlights of the enterprise include:
- Olive farming has been part of the Vlok Family’s Môreson farm since the 1990s. All the olives are handpicked and processed in the Riebeek Valley.
- There’s plenty of insightful information on the farm website that supports the use of locally made olive oils and olives as well as details on how to store them.
- The retail store on the farm stocks what is arguably the most diverse preparations of olives and olive oils, from olive oil butter and olive pastes to dried and flavoured olives, and related foods like varieties of dukkah.
The farm is among the most scenic in the region, sitting on the shoulder of the Piketberg Mountain. It is also a pioneer of organic wine farming in South Africa. Its olive enterprise is also fully organic.
Org de Rac sells its olive oil in 500ml, 1l and 5l containers, available from the farm tasting room that’s open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm and from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday and public holidays.