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Olives, Oil & Toil

Olives, Oil & Toil

Tamieka Preston

If you’re dreaming of an olive grove your grandchildren can enjoy, then Maggie Edmond’s new book, Olives, Oil & Toil is a must read, and although it’s full of the trials and tribulations, not to mention shear hard work such a dream manifests, its also full of heartwarming tales of overcoming adversity and a genuine sharing of love for the ancient art of olive growing.

Maggie says, “The olive industry in all its forms is exciting and seductive.   It entices growers, attracts researchers, beckons retailers and lures food lovers. Olives, Oil & Toil brings together the stories and experiences of growers, sellers and processors, both big and small, over 25 years from 1995. It records for future generations the dedication, perseverance and passion of those involved in olive cultivation in WA and their pursuit of excellence.”

“This book will contradict any thoughts of a glamorous agricultural lifestyle. However, it is a testament to the rewards of growing olive trees, from resilient olive growers and those associated with the olive industry.”

For those who don’t remember, Maggie was long a local in the Northern Valleys, sharing her thoughts and opinions on all things food and produce for many years here in the NVNews, where she wrote a column for the food page. Perhaps better known for her lovely produce shop, Maggie’s Place in the Swan Valley, Maggie was also instrumental in supporting the WA Olive industry in its early years, and has remained a passionate advocate. 

Her book was a dream brought to fruition by a group of volunteers who donated their time to make it reality, its proceeds benefiting the industry directly.

Professor Stan Kailis, who has worked with the olive industry since its revival, comments: 

“To me, it was like meeting old friends, the olive and all those that had the courage and fortitude to take on an industry as old as 3,000 years...Olives, Oil & Toil is not only a human story, but its technical wisdom will benefit all olive growers and processors today and those in the future.”

Stories in the book include Guinea Grove Farm – A Shared Vision and Dream, by Rae Jefferies, tragic but hopeful;  Catherine Olive Lady of Orange Springs, Gingin, where Catherine Lee survived  a tornado, fire and floods, and an insect onslaught; and The Mediterranean Diet – the Doorway to Living Healthier and Longer. Amusing stories include Chapman River Olives – Possums, Owls and Shaker. Important historical details are included in Ian Rowe’s My Recollections of the Australian Olive Industry Revival 1995-2012.

Details about Olives, Oil & Toil are on the Dragonfly Publishing website: www.dragonflypublishing.com.au.

Purchases of the book and all other information can be made directly to Maggie Edmonds. Email: mpedmonds@bigpond.com or phone: 0429 055 099.

You can also buy the book from the Northern Valleys Locavore Store in Bindoon, along with olive oil from Regans Ridge, Marvick Farm and Esslemont Estate.

Proceeds from the sale of Olives, Oil & Toil will be used for a project directed by Professor Stan Kailis planned for 2024 to spread the word to consumers about the health benefits of olive oil, table olives and olive leaf tea.

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