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There must be something special about the area around Boyup Brook because for the third year running a local producer has been awarded the Best WA Oil of show at the Perth Royal Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.

Redhill Oliva (Boyup Brook) was one of four gold medallists among West Australian growers in the competition. In 2006 and 2007, Grindon also from Boyup Brook, was awarded the Best WA Oil of show.

Three other WA olive oil producers have also taken home gold medals in the competition this year: Blackwood River Products (of Nannup who won gold last year), Island Point Grove (Mandurah) and Oliver’s (Mt Barker). The other four gold medals, making a total of eight, went to Victoria (3) and New South Wales (1).

This year’s Perth Royal Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition featured 139 entries from which judges awarded the gold medals plus 28 silver and 68 bronze.

“The overall standard of oils was excellent,” says competition chairman Richard Gawel. “The best oils were fresh, lively and threw up a number of interesting aromas and flavours.

“The gold medal winners were produced from a large number of varieties (Picual, Barnea and WA Mission blends, Hojiblanca, Minerva, Frantoio and Koroneiki) and differed greatly in style from very delicate to robust.

“This result is testament to the ability of the WA judges to understand and appreciate the wonderful diversity of olive oil flavours and styles that arise from the large number of varieties which have been tried in Australia.”

Mr Gawel says the competition is now an entrenched feature of the West Australian olive oil calendar and continues to maintain its position among the biggest and most prestigious olive oil shows in Australia.

There are nearly two million olive trees planted in West Australia stretching from Chapman Valley, near Northampton to Albany making it Australia’s second largest olive producing state after Victoria.

The Moore River region around Gingin accounts for 70 per cent of the State’s olive tree plantings with large groves also established in Frankland and West Beverley.

The olive harvest in Western Australia increased by 75 per cent in 2007, exceeding 14,000 tonnes of olive fruit. The large majority was used for the production of olive oil, with less than 100 tonnes of fruit processed for table olives.

In 2007, Australia imported 43,404 tonnes of olive oil and exported 2,502 tonnes to countries including USA, Italy, China, New Zealand, UK and Spain. A production of 8,000 tonnes of oil is expected from Western Australia by 2012.