It is a cool, crisp autumn morning at Morgenster Estate, and a perfect day to harvest olives. We are waiting for a film crew to arrive, that will be producing a show for Expresso breakfast show on SABC3. We drive up the hill to look for the harvesting teams, and find them high up on the hill, hard at work raking the olives from the trees, the same way that farmers have been doing it for centuries in Mediterranean countries.

The film crew set up their equipment, looking for the perfect spot to film this process. With the Helderberg and Hottentot's Holland mountain ranges surrounding us, one could hardly find a more perfect place than this! While the crew is busy filming, I wander around between the olive groves, fascinated by the heavily laden trees, giving up their precious fruit for us to enjoy! On Morgenster Estate there are about 20 different cultivars, and I am amazed at all the different shapes and colors of the various olives. So perfect and beautiful. This is truly one of natures most precious gifts to us. The oil that is produced from these olives is one of natures most astounding natural health foods. 

When the crew decide that they have enough footage of the harvest process, we drive to the top of the hill, from where we have an absolutely breathtaking view across the valley. Afterwards we go to the cellar where the olives are being processed. Morgenster has a very special Italian  machine, that presses the olives, and separates the pips and flesh from the oil, so that when the oil comes out the other end, it is pure and good enough to taste immediately. It has a wonderful, fresh grassy flavor, with a strong peppery bite to the back of the throat. 

We go down to the tasting cellar afterwards, to have a special tasting for the show. Gerrie describes how to do a proper olive oil tasting, and points out the flavors of each individual oil that we taste. When we taste the final one, which is an Italian imported oil off the supermarket shelf, it is immediately  obvious how badly this imported oil compares to our locally produced Extra Virgin Olive oil from Morgenster. None of the fresh, grassy flavor is noticeable, and it has a bland, oily taste. This just made me realize how the South African public is being conned into using these inferior olive oils, when we do have the best local products available. 

Once you have tasted some of the good olive oils produces on our local farms, you will think twice before buying any bottle off the shelf, as it does not always mean that it is a good oil as long as it says Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the label. Learning to taste olive oils is a wonderful experience, and well worth the effort.

Watch the Expresso show on SATV3 on Monday 13th May, between 8 and 9.30am, to see this informative show.

Watch clips from the show here to see how olives are harvested and olive oil is produced:

Morgenster will be having a harvest festival during the week of the 21 - 25 May, and guest are welcome by invitation only, so contact us if you are interested in visiting this farm.