Parafield Olives set table for success

BURSTING WITH FLAVOUR: Margie Carter of Parafield Olives with close to 70 tonnes of olives pickling in barrels. Picture: Madeleine Clarke
BURSTING WITH FLAVOUR: Margie Carter of Parafield Olives with close to 70 tonnes of olives pickling in barrels. Picture: Madeleine Clarke

Margie Carter’s olives are at the top of the barrel, collecting a medal for every category entered in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

Parafield Olives won gold for their green Wallis variety, three silver and four bronze in the competitive national show. 

She’s the only one in the country with the gold-winning mean, green little numbers. 

“They’re a funny sort of olive, they look like a walnut, they’re not smooth or shiny they’re bumpy and lumpy and have a ridge down the side like a plum,” she said. 

Margie’s olives are a menagerie of colours, from purple to pink, crimson and aubergine. The rainbow is the result of wholistic, slow processing. 

Most table olives are pickled in a caustic solution to draw out the bitterness, washed and ready in five to seven days. But Parafield’s olives sit in a salt brine for roughly 15 months. 

“When they’re washing the caustic out it takes all the nutrients and flavour out and nearly dissolves the skin,” she said.

“People are only just now starting to eat proper olives.”

Margie now has 6000 trees on 100 acres, and while many producers major in oils, for her it was always about table olives. 

“I’ve always liked them, my father used to make me eat them when I was a kid so that I’d fit in at cocktail parties,” she laughed. 

She started with her first nursery in 1995 and the business has grown exponentially. This year’s win was her first gold medal after many years of entering the competition. 

“I was in Adelaide judging oils when I found out, I got a bit teary, to be sitting among my peers was pretty awesome. I was up in a cloud.”

She wasn’t the only Wagga winner. Locals W2Olives won the best flavoured oil of the show with their lemon agrumato. 

Parafield harvested a whopping 40 tonnes of olives this year, currently pickling to perfection.