For quality table olives, good quality olives are required. Quality starts at the olive orchard. A good variety, if it grows under optimal conditions, is going to produce a good quality olive.
Major factors to take in consideration is the selection of cultivars: size and shape of the olive, also pit and flesh ratio, color, firmness, state of maturity during harvesting and methods of harvesting.
The exported Australian olives are locally produced, or imported and then exported to Asian countries. Small scale producers are exporting olives to USA and UK.
Since early 1990s, the Australians have increased their table olive consumption and have become the largest consumers outside the Mediterranean region.
The olive industry in Australia is fragmented and growers have between 500 and 1,500 olive trees. It is estimated that Australia has about 9 million trees.
The processing of olive oil and table olives are two different operations. The olive grower for table olives wants a good fruit quality and a good variety. The olive grower for olive oil wants the same thing.
Olive orchard owners in South and Western Australia who are focused in the table olive industry, have planted large numbers of the Kalamata variety olive trees. Small scale producers process, package and sell the olives to wholesalers, food representatives of the food industry sector, or directly to the consumers. Some growers sell the olives to other processors to complete the processing and some may sell to the fresh market for sale to small scale or home processors.
Best varieties in Australia are:
The South Australian Verdale that is a variety grown in home gardens and commercial orchards. It is a propability that its origin is French and may be related to the French Verdial. It is a strong, small compact olive tree that is easy to harvest by hand. It has adopted to the Australian environment and resists the cold and drought.
The Hardy’s Mammoth is originated in Queensland, Australia. It produces a large fruit that weights about 7 grams and it is suitable for green and black table olives.
Jumbo Kalamata is a large olive that looks like the Greek Kalamata, but it is unlikely to be related. The olive weights over 10 grams. The weight varies among the fruits of the same tree.