Olive oil – Taking growth seriously

Using the most advanced propagation, growing, coding, packing and transporting technologies for olives, we supply you with young trees to make your business dreams a reality. These new methods, developed by David Kaholi, enable us to meet industry demands for trees of every variety. And because we grow the trees ourselves, you’re guaranteed they meet our exceptionally high standards and are available in the quantities you require.

As a principle, Annie Smithers carries minimal stock in our nursery.  This gives us a major tree quality advantage because the trees we supply are fresh and vigorous, ready for easy transplanting to the field.  Our experience has shown us that these young trees will out perform older, larger trees which have been held for too long in the pot.


To ensure your trees reach you in perfect condition, we utilise our own unique, dedicated tree handling and transport system.

Featuring purpose built collars and lids for pallets, it enables multi stacking of pallets without fear of damage to the precious cargo inside. The result is better quality transport at low cost.

We are currently using this system to supply trees to our clients across Australia – in South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.


We understand that when you begin olive farming, your aim will be to see the best olive oil products returns in the shortest possible time. To this end, we recommend planting of the Israeli cultivar, Barnea as the major part of your orchard.

The Barnea has proven to be the best variety for producing commercial yields in a very short time with excellent quality oil. The Barnea, introduced to Australia by Annie Smithers, was developed especially for a modern orchard. Over the past 25 years in Israel, Barnea has produced a premium quality oil, yielding up to 10 tonnes per hectare within three years, with 20% oil content under irrigation.

It has also proved to be the fastest growing olive tree in Australia and New Zealand. At right are pictures of trees at planting and after 1,2 and 3 years in Australia.

In 2002 (year 4 for the Barnea in Australia), some excellent results have been achieved. Growers are reporting yields of 25kg of fruit per tree and 18% oil.

We recommend planting 60%-70% of your orchard with Barnea and 30%-40% with 4-5 other varieties.

Recently, Annie Smithers was provided with a report from the Olive Board of Israel which highlights the high quality features of Barnea olive oil, including:

Widespread adoption as the major olive variety in Israel
Early fruiting, high stable yields and oil quality
Delicate oil with a distinct green grass fruity aroma
First place in National Israeli Olive Oil Board competition
Special popularity among new users not accustomed to traditional olive oils

Commitment to future growth

Annie Smithers has shown its commitment to the future of the Australian olive oil industry by funding research and development for the benefit of the industry.

We are financially supporting the National Olive Variety Assessment (NOVA). This project, to determine the best growing areas in Australia for olives and the most suitable varieties, has been established at Roseworthy in South Australia. Results will be publicly available.

We also support the research and development programs of government and universities in Australia. These include direct support of visits to Australia by internationally respected expert Professor Shimon Lavee.

Professor Lavee is contributing to projects in olive biochemistry and physiology issues in Australia.

Over the past five years, Annie Smithers has invested more than $AUS250,000 to help and support the development of the local industry.

Misty Memories

If, according to some, age is simply a state of mind … then consider this gem sent in by Arthur Lloyd, of Unanderra. For those born before 1940 there was no television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, xerox, plastic, contact lenses, videos, Frisbees or the Pill. They were born before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball point pens; before dishwashers, tumble dryers, electric blankets, air-conditioners and drip-dry clothes and before man walked on the moon. They got married first, then lived together, thought fast food was what they ate for Lent, a Big Mac was an over-sized raincoat and crumpet was what they had for tea.

Made in Japan meant junk

Making out referred to how well you did in exams and going all the way meant a bus ride to the depot. A stud was something that fastened your collar. Cigarette smoking was fashionable, grass was something to be mown, coke was kept in the house, a joint was Sunday’s leg of lamb, and pot was something you cooked in. A gay person was the life and soul of a party.

No wonder there is such a thing as a generation gap!

There is the scent of revenge hanging in the air up in the northern suburbs. It seems a group of young men including a prominent boxing champ, a local barber, and the son of a well-known local publican, were out on the town. As the evening’s activities drew to a close the boxer and barber nodded off to sleep. On waking the barber had a half moon shaved out of his hair, and the boxer’s eyebrow was missing.

The main suspect, the publican’s son, has planned his wedding in the next month or so. And the barber (now with a No1 cut to hide his “injuries”) and boxer are planning a little revenge hairdressing.

Trisha, of Berkeley, tells us her son Gary lost everything in the recent floods but an oil painting of the Titanic. The painting was handed down to Trisha by her grandmother and Gary is the fourth generation to claim ownership. Unlike the ship that the owners claimed even God couldn’t sink, the painting has survived a string of remarkable incidents over the years.

Taking the good oil to the world

When you undertake any venture, you need to be certain there is a market for your product.

The Australian Olive Oil Export Company (AOOEC) has been established to market high quality olive oil from our projects and customers to both locally and internationally.

It has the support of  Peerless Holdings , an Annie Smithers partner.  Peerless is a member of one of Australia’s largest private groups of companies and a manufacturer of edible oils, fats and margarine.

Peerless Holdings supplies a diverse range of products to food manufactures, caterers, restaurants, bakers and retailers throughout Australia and overseas.  It has developed its own state-of-the-art edible oil refinery, which processes edible tallow and a wide variety of vegetable oils.  These include soya bean, sunflower, canola, cottonseed and palm oils.

Continuous product and market development has resulted in the company marketing an extensive range of high quality products to a wide range of markets.

Peerless will bring its technical and product experience and expertise to AOOEC.  This will be a very large advantage as the olive oil market develops in Australia over the coming years.

Since olive oil became one of the most strongly promoted oils in the world, the consumption of olive oil has boomed in markets such as Australia, the USA, Japan and England.  AOOEC with the support of Peerless, has now committed its experience and expertise to developing products for the local and international Australian olive oil markets.

To develop those markets, AOOEC needs to have access to reliable sources of top quality Australian olive oil in large volume, on a consistent basis through Annie Smither’s project and customers.


How do you spot a porky?

Restaurants and chefs, sometimes they tell lies. There is an alarming trend at the moment to list producers on the menu but not use that producers product, just their cudos. Or to talk about free range, rare breed but buy stock that has come directly from a feed lot. How can any of us tell? Naming and shaming seems to be an out dated and vicious way to go about it, perhaps it is education.

If the consumer really cares, there are many tell tale signs. Muscle texture, size of the beast, flavor. A dorper sheep will have a very different flavor than a feed lot sheep. It will be darker meat and a more intense ‘lamby’ flavor. Pork is almost easy. Take a free range berkshire, the muscle texture is quite defined, there is a greater flavor that bears no resemblance to factory farmed pigs. The same goes for free range and organic poultry, there is far better texture to the meat and the flavor is quite different.

And if you are not sure, grill the waiting staff. Any establishment that is worth its salt and is proud of the provenance of it’s food will have educated their staff. It is very depressing for the farmers to do all the work with their animals, and then all the leg work to get their product into the highly competitive restaurant industry, just to have two orders placed and then their name still appears on the menu, but their product is never ordered again.
It is time that this nasty trend stops, it is not fair on the farmers and it is not fair on the consumer.

Running a restaurant in the 21st century.

Maybe its the weather. Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe I’m just plain grumpy. But gosh, I miss the 20th century.

My mind has been full of nostalgia after a horror weekend last week. All due to what a restaurant or cafe has come to represent in the modern age of multi media platforms and marketing world. Seemingly less and less about food and service than ever before.

It all begins a few weeks back with a person, that the government pays, ringing up to ask for a freebie for a representative of an online media publication, who is promoting a ‘region’. The person that I now pay, to deal with online reservations, social media and computer generated gumph, consults with me and I reluctantly give the go ahead.

Then the whole cyber system fails and one didn’t quite understand the other, and there wasn’t the usual flurry of high pitched emails and ‘sacre bleu’ the anointed journalists were not booked in to the cafe and the sky threatened to fall in. Then there really was a flurry of high pitched texts and emails all screaming ‘mea culpa’ louder than the last. For gods sake, is this what running a restaurant has become? It is madness. The journalists, who knew nothing of what had gone on, were quietly found a seat and fed.

But it has made me nostalgic. Remember when……
A restaurant had a set of opening hours and a phone. You made a reservation and honored it. There was no email, no DIMMI, no confusion.

If that restaurant was lucky they would be reviewed by a journalist from a newspaper. A person paid for their subjective opinion. The reviewer would come, incognito, eat, judge, pay their bill and go home to squash some words together about the experience. There was not an option for precocious ten year olds to declare on their blogs that they thought my duck breast a little underdone. Knowing ( or perhaps hoping) that their blog would be read by 10’s thousands of fascinated persons that respected his finally honed culinary opinions.

Nor was there a culture of giving everything away for the chance of having a positive paragraph in a generic article about a ’ region’ in an online publication. Articles that are all about promotion and tourism and good news stories. they were never going to say’ The incompetent bastards f*#**ed up our booking’ anyway.

But that is what it has all become. A media circus, a computerized nightmare of confusion and intrigue. Where the email has become synonymous with ‘cheques in the mail’. How often do I now here from people who didn’t honor their booking ’ Oh. Didn’t you get my email to cancel?’.

Quietly I peruse the GFG, not to be confused with the opportunistic AGFG, from 1980. Particularly looking at country restaurants that seem to need to play the game harder and give more away to secure regional exposure. Did you know there was a restaurant in Dunkeld worth mentioning, run by three enterprising farmers wives, happily showing their skills to the public. And in my beloved region a plethora of options. A Swiss chef in Chewton, the Mill in malmsbury in full flight, offerings in Daylesford, Hepburn, Gisborne. A pub on Mt Macedon with its own smokehouse.

It all seemed so simple then. Small business relying on word of mouth and their own sense of pride and professionalism. They were not judged by the architect that oversaw the fit out, they were not judged by their website, they were not required to keep an absolutely up to day menu online so that people could experience before they even got there. It was just simple. Make a call, talk to a person, go for a drive, have lunch or dinner.

How I wish it was still the same. But it is not. And I will probably be placed in the sin bin for even questioning if this is the way it should be. But in a day and age where the Age becomes a tabloid and Gina threatens no editorial independence there is a sense of ’ If you can’t beat them, join them’ as I air my grievances in a blog.