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Mkholo Olive Farm

Situated 65 kilometres from Johannesburg, near Hartbeespoort Dam, Mkholo Olive Farm is the first commercial olive farm on the Highveld. They're striving to go organic and keeping it as natural as possible.

Hartbeespoort Dam, North West Province


Website www.mkholoolives.co.za/    Phone +27 83 275 4919   Mobile +27 83 275 1387    Email mkholo@iafrica.com

The magic of the olive

Mkholo-Olive-Farm

“It’s like alchemy. We make magic down here,” says Veronica Jonsson. She’s been talking us through the differences that soil, climate and water (terroir) all have on the fruits of her labour, the olive. Mkholo Olive Farm is a pretty magical spot. Situated 65 kilometres from Johannesburg, near Hartbeespoort Dam, it’s not the place you would usually expect to find an olive farm in South Africa. Olives thrive in a Mediterranean climate, which in South Africa is restricted to the Western Cape. But here we were on the first commercial olive farm on the Highveld.

Bringing the olive to the Highveld

Victoria and her husband Patrick are from Zimbabwe originally. Arriving in the big city of Johannesburg in 1976 was a bit of a shell shock for them, and after about five years there, they decided to escape to the countryside. They found Mkholo Farm, and started out with sheep farming, but the problem of stock theft led them to consider other options. A friend suggested growing olives which sounded like an attractive idea to the couple. After their first 250 trees were successful, they brought in a further 500 from the Cape.

The less than ideal Highveld climate soon evoked a few challenges in the olive raising process, but Victoria and Patrick did thorough research and were able to come up with solutions - like keeping grass between the trees to help minimise frost damage. Despite the challenges they are striving to go organic and use only organic pesticides. In 2012 they reached full productivity for the first time producing 130 tonnes of healthy olives.

Unique flavours and products

Mkholo’s groves comprise Mission, Frantoio, FS17, Coratina and Lecino varietals. They produce certified extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, table olives and a few other olive based products including body products. Mkholo's eating olives are slow cured in the traditional manner with no chemicals or preservatives. Their olive oil has unique  flavours, taste and aromas which Victoria says is due to the distinctive terroir. They continually experiment with ways to use the healthful fruit, and have been working on a sweet olive, and even an olive oil ice cream!

Victoria and Patrick are proud of their farm and are always willing to entertain visitors. They run olive picking tours, where guests can pick, taste and get the background story on the farm and valuable  information on oil. They also have olive tree pruning events, and visits by prior arrangement.

Mkholo’s groves comprise Mission, Frantoio, FS17, Coratina and Lecino varietals. They produce certified extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, table olives and a few other olive based products including body products.

Mkholo-Olive-FarmMkholo-Olive-Farm

Their olive oil has unique flavours, taste and aromas which Victoria says is due to the distinctive terroir.

Mkholo-Olive-Farm

Olive oil should be warmed slightly with the hands before tasting. This releases the flavenoid polyphenols which are responsible for the distinctive flavours and antioxidant effect.

Mkholo-Olive-FarmMkholo-Olive-Farm

Mkholo's eating olives are slow cured in the traditional manner with no chemicals or preservatives.

Mkholo-Olive-Farm

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