About Isobel Olives.
Chris Piper retired after 40 years in veterinary practice in Auckland. Eager to have a lifestyle property he purchased 12 acres in Huapai, north west of Auckland with his partner with an Olive Grove of 650 trees. Here he indulged his passion for growing things until 2016 when he sold his share and travelled the south island finally settling in Marlborough where his family have had property for more than 55 years. He waited patiently for over a year before finding a lifestyle property with a small olive grove near Rarangi. He moved there in April 2017
The property was originally part of a larger Isobel Estate and the name Isobel Olives was born. Chris ran a holistic practice for about 30 years and brings this perspective, along with organic and biodynamic practices, to growing olives. His wide range of skills have allowed him to adapt to the conditions and produce premium olive oil.
THE GROVE is situated in Isobel Place about a kilometre from Rarangi Beach in Cloudy Bay. The soils are free draining pea gravel with fine fertile river silt and favour growing olives. As a member of Olives NZ Chris has access to expertise and support and uses the certification of his oils to ensure they meet rigorous testing and provide consumer confidence. Olives are cold pressed at the Marlborough Olive Press within 24 hours of harvest in late June. Chris is a shareholder and director of MOPL (Marlborough Olive Press Limited) which is a licensed Food Safe premise. Fresh extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is stored in stainless steel tanks (Fustis) and raked off after the sediment has settled and bottled in food safe local premises.
Chris has a passion for food and is keen to encourage and educate people to use olive oil for everyday use and to expound the health benefits.
THE TREES. Chris harvests several neighbouring groves of 4 main varieties – Koroneiki (Greek), picual (Spanish), Frantoio (Italian) and Barnea (Israeli). Careful pruning, fertilizing and irrigation help to provide optimum growing conditions. No sprays are used and mulching is used for weed control.
THE OILS once harvested and pressed, the separate varieties from different groves are professionally tasted and determined as delicate, medium and robust. Koroneiki is a single variety delicate oil and Chris’s favourite. The Koroneiki from his previous grove won best in show, best single varietal, and best delicate oil at Oliveti competition in 2012.