Leafyridge Olives, situated in Carterton in the beautiful Wairarapa region of New Zealand, is owned and managed by the Leaf-Wright family.
Its location, at the southern part of the North Island of New Zealand, has an ideal climate for producing some of the finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the world. The trees grow in the stony, free draining soils so typical of the Wairarapa, alongside the Ruamahanga river. The cold, wet winters followed by long, hot and dry summer days are perfect conditions for the olives, resulting in oils with uniquely fresh flavours to gratify even the most discerning palate.
The grove was established by the family in July 1999 . We currently have over 4,000 trees comprising varieties from Italy (Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino), France (Picholene), Greece (Koroneiki) and Spain (Manzanillo, Picual).
The special character of Leafyridge Extra Virgin Olive Oil is also attributed to the traditional values which we have adhered to over the years in growing, harvesting and processing the olives. We firmly believe in operating in as sustainable a manner as possible. As part of the Olives New Zealand Focus Grove Project, we are currently exploring ways of reducing the small amount of chemicals that we use to keep our trees healthy. We hope that this will lead to a total elimination in the future!
Harvesting takes place in June and July each year using both mechanical harvesters and hand harvesting with electric rakes. In May 2020, we established our own olive mill on the grove. This is a modern 2-phase process which, in addition to being environmentally friendly by using very little fresh water and therefore producing less waste water, also ensures the best quality oil by retaining the highest possible polyphenol content. Taste is also more intense because flavours and ingredients are not washed out with excessive water. Having our own olive mill means the olives are processed immediately after harvesting. This allows us to have complete control over the entire operation and results in the production of the highest quality extra virgin olive oil. We also produce a variety of flavoured olive oils by adding fresh fruit skins, or herbs, into the crusher with the olives just before the malaxing. The result is deliciously fresh, fragrant and authentically flavoured oils.
After processing is complete, the oil is left to settle and then transferred into large airtight stainless steel storage tanks before bottling.
We are very proud of the fact that we produce our own olives used in our extra virgin olive oil. This means that every aspect of the quality of the oil we produce is controlled by us, from conservation of the land, tree nutrition and pruning to the actual harvesting of the fruit and the processing into extra virgin or flavoured olive oil.
The first commercial quantities of Leafyridge Extra Virgin Olive Oil were available in October 2005, for which we won a Silver medal. In 2006 Leafyridge won two Gold medals at the New Zealand Olive Oil Awards and since then our Extra Virgin Olive Oils and flavoured olive oils have won many medals at the Annual New Zealand Olive Oil competition. At the 2023 Annual Awards our oils won 2 Gold medals, 7 Silver medals and 1 Bronze medal.
In 2020, Leafyridge Chilli agrumato flavoured oil won the Best Flavoured oil in Show award and a Gold medal.
Leafyridge Extra Virgin Olive Oil carries the Olives New Zealand Red Olive Mark Certification label verifying that it meets the requirements for Extra Virgin Olive Oil as laid down by the International Olive Oil Council. This means that you can be sure you are buying the very best quality olive oil and most importantly, getting the real stuff!
We get an enormous amount of pleasure and satisfaction from the effort we put into producing our oil and we are certain that you will get just as much from using it, whether in baking, cooking, on salads, or even as a health tonic, on its own!