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Willow Creek Olive Oil

Willow Creek’s oils have won numerous prizes both locally and internationally for both their Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the Directors’ Reserve, amongst others. This can be attributed to their excellent quality control and precise farming methods.

Note: Food With A Story has included these details on behalf of Willow Creek Olive Oil. If you are from Willow Creek Olive Oil please contact us to get profiled and/or have the listing transferred.

Worcester, Western Cape


Website www.willowcreek.co.za    Phone +27 (0)23 342 5793   Email info@willowcreek.co.za

The ancient olive

Olive trees are pretty special. As the oldest known fruit trees, they have been closely linked with the development of agriculture and thus of human advancement. The trees are very stable and reliable producers, living for thousands of years and remaining fertile all the while. Many trees in the Mediterranean region have been proven to be over two thousand years old, and some sources claim that trees over five thousand years still exist, and still produce fruit!

The olive trees at Willow Creek farm are infants in comparison - they date back to 1999 when Andries Rabie first felt his calling to become an olive farmer. The 300 year old Nuy Valley family farm has since been planted up with 173 000 olive trees of the Coratina, Frantoio, Leccino, Barnea, Koroneiki, Favoloza, Mission, Kalamata, Noccelara del Belice and Manzanilla varieties. Of these, Coratina, Favoloza, Frantoio and Mission are most commonly used for producing oil.

Local trumps imported

As the chairman of the South African Olive Growers Association, Andries guarantees that any local oil on the supermarket shelf will be better than an imported oil. This is partly due to the association working hard to keep the standards high and partly because the South African olive industry is still small enough that secondary processing of the olive pomace doesn't occur. That means that we don’t get the low grade olive oils that are produced through heat intensive processes - all local oils are essentially ‘raw’, retaining the natural goodness of the olive. That’s why, as Andries says, “South African olive oil is in the top 20% of the world quality-wise."

Willow Creek’s oils certainly live up to this reputation. They’ve won numerous prizes both locally and internationally for both their Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the Directors’ Reserve, amongst others. This can be attributed to their excellent quality control and precise farming methods. They constantly monitor the trees making sure that they are always getting the best input. Aside from reactive interventions in the case of an olive beetle attack, their farming methods are natural, right down to watering with pure mountain water, which is applied conservatively only when the closely monitored soil water content drops too low. Olive trees naturally only produce a good yield of fruit every second year though, so to counteract this, fertiliser is applied and the growth cycle and harvesting period is closely managed.

Making the grade

So South Africa produces excellent extra virgin olive oil - but what does ‘extra virgin’ actually mean? The term describes olive oil that has passed two tests: a chemical one and a sensory one. So South Africa produces excellent extra virgin olive oil - but what does ‘extra virgin’ actually mean? The term describes olive oil that has passed two tests: a chemical one and a sensory one. If it fails either one of these two tests, it’s only considered to be either virgin or lampante.  Lampante olive oil is then refined in order to neutralize the negative flavours so that it can be used as an edible oil. The qualities tested are very vulnerable to deterioration - they’re sensitive to harvest and extraction processes, light, air, and even the type of material the oil comes into contact with. So the tightest controls are required to ensure top quality oils.

Good olive oil has a shelf-life of two to three years – the polyphenols (which hold the good stuff like antioxidants) slowly break down and eventually the oil will go rancid. This raises another issue with imported olive oils that spend months being stored and transported from Europe to our shelves. The moral of this story is – local is definitely more lekker.

Innovating as they grow

Willow Creek farm is moving from strength to strength. Their production is increasing by the year, and they’re actively innovating the industry, right down to developing the latest olive oil dispensing technology – a fancy nozzle in a squeezy bottle which local foodies like Matt Allison (I’m no Jamie Oliver) and Clare Mack (Spill.co.za) are raving about.

And who knows - maybe, in a few millennia, the Willow Creek will boast its own ancient olives trees.

This high-tech machine gives the olive trees a good shaking to release the ripe fruits

Farm workers move two machines between a row of trees - one shakes while one catches

No two olive oils are the same - Food With A Story took part in an informative olive oil tasting and learned about the differing qualities

Western Cape

  • Pick ‘n Pay
  • Checkers
  • Woolworths
  • Super Spar
  • Willow Creek Deli, Willow Creek Estate, Nuy Valley, Worcester
  • Selected Speciality Food Shops, Delis & Farm Stalls

Eastern Cape

  • Pick ‘n Pay
  • Checkers
  • Woolworths

Gauteng

  • Pick ‘n Pay
  • Checkers
  • Woolworths
  • Super Spar
  • Selected Speciality Food Shops, Delis & Farm Stalls

KwaZulu-Natal

  • Pick ‘n Pay
  • Checkers
  • Woolworths
  • Selected Speciality Food Shops, Delis & Farm Stalls

Willow Creek Olive Harvesting (For Olive Oil)

Olives - From the tree to Olive Oil at Willow Creek

Meet Andries Rabie - Award winning olive farmer from Willow Creek

Image for 'Innovative Gourmet Squeeze bottle for Olive Oil'

Innovative Gourmet Squeeze bottle for Olive Oil

from Willow Creek Olive Oil

Using your favourite olive oil will now be even more enjoyable with the launch of Willow Creek’s revolutionary Gourmet Squeeze bottle filled with their most popular Estate Blend extra virgin olive oil. The pioneering Gourmet Squeeze packaging will forever change the lives of chefs, foodies and kitchen novices alike. The handy 750ml bottle boasts an easy-to-use nozzle with a 1.5mm pour opening which allows you to direct and control the flow of olive oil as desired. Simply unscrew the cap, give the bottle a gentle squeeze and voila – no fuss, no mess.

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Willow creek olive oil

by Grandy  |   27 March 2013 12:28 PM   |   0 replies

Tried it & loved it,As long as I can keep getting it I will always use it.What makes it even greater is that it is South African.Its on our doorstep.

INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM FOR WILLOW CREEK

by The Archer  |   23 August 2012 03:27 PM   |   0 replies

An exceptional performance by Willow Creek Olive Estate at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition has landed them with 2 much coveted medals: Best of Class and Gold. The Willow Creek Directors’ Reserve, their ultimate pride and joy, impressed with its robust and complex flavours.

Regarded as the Oscar Awards of Olive Oil, the competition drew a record number of 645 entries from twenty countries, including Italy, Spain, Australia and the United States and the highly qualified judging panel consisted of 10 experts from around the world. The award-winning olive oils will be on display at the L.A. County Fair during the month of September.

Olive oil lovers will enjoy the enticing aromas of artichokes and tomato vines present in the Willow Creek Directors’ Reserve EVOO. Nuances of rocket and salad herbs and a pleasant lingering nuttiness complete the taste sensation of this premium class olive oil blended from Coratina, Favoloza and Frantoio cultivars. Food fundis consider it a versatile product which will complement carpaccio, pasta dishes and soups, and regard it as an unsurpassable basting for succulent steaks.

Willow Creek managing director, Andries Rabie, says the estate’s exceptional terroir plays a defining role in the superior quality of their oils. The dry climate in a winter rainfall region, together with access to irrigation, allows for optimum moisture at precisely the right time. Lime rich soils along with significant variations in winter- and summer-, as well as day- and night temperatures, largely contributes to the superb flavour development of the olives. “It’s simply a case of making the most of the goodness of nature – with plenty of passion, perseverance and patience from our side!” comments Rabie.

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