Cellar & Pantry Producer:

Main Ridge Olives

Main Ridge olive oil and olives on a table
#Mornington Peninsula

It all started 20 years ago when Michelle and John Ford bought a 15 acres property in Main Ridge with intention to cultivate it into an agricultural land that will grow with their young family. After much research the decision was made to plant an olive grove. John & Michelle planted 500 table olive trees. While most olive groves around the Peninsula are grown for olive oil, the pair decided to focus their effort on table olives, only to quickly  learn how fickle and inconsistent table olive production can be from picking to natural fermentation, a lot can happen.

Main Ridge Olives focused their first 10 years on table olives, using their own olives as well as a few other selected groves around the hinterland. Over time, the Fords established strong relationship with the grove owners and developed a conversation about olive grove farming. The pair have slowly started managing those groves as well as theirs, attending to the health of the trees and seeing their olives production from start to finish with organic faming principles in mind.

In parallel ex-chef Tim Jupp was producing Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Main Ridge until he approached the Fords to merge their efforts in grove management, table olive production as well as Olive oil production into Main Ridge Olive Co. Tim and Nick Ford manage the groves with the same strong principle that guided them since the beginning of their journey. Tim is produces their Extra Virgin Olive Oil after picking the olives and within 6 hours of picking

Their table olives are hand picked, sorted, washed and same day placed into brine.  Over a 12-18 month period (depending on whether the olive is green or black) the olives ferment enhancing the natural flavours while maintaining a firm texture to the bite.  Many commercially available table olives are rapidly processed in chemicals (such as lye aka caustic soda) which removes much of the natural olive flavour and texture. Michelle is still in charge of their table olives production.