By FRANK GIBSON
BRIGHTON residents Belinda and Richard Weston were thrilled to be awarded a silver medal for their olive oil recently at the Sydney Royal fine food awards.
Renaissance Olives won second prize for their Australian extra virgin olive oil in the Boutique Commercial class judged in early September.
Belinda said it was a very competitive field with over sixty entries from around Australia.
“We were very excited to win a silver. Tasmanian olive oil has become a highly sought after product.
“Richard and I planted the olives trees some years ago now, but have only been pressing commercially for four or five years,” Belinda said.
“We have won some local awards before, but nothing on a national scale. The Sydney Royal show really is the pinnacle in Australia.
“The olive oil was judged by a panel that consider the aroma and the palate. With our cooler climate we have a longer growing season and lower yields, but we produce superior quality oils compared to mainland producers.”
Belinda said she and husband Richard were just back from Italy where they have been learning the finer points of pruning olive trees in an olive grove that dates back to the 15th century,
“We can’t afford to rest on our laurels. We have nearly 7,000 peonies to harvest shortly. We export them to the mainland, mostly Perth and Sydney, and we have a growing market in the USA.
“It’s a lot of work, especially with twin boys to get off to school. But we love every minute of it.”