Viridis Grove was established by Bert and Netty van Heuckelum who planted their first olive trees in 2000 and 2001. Further plantings were made in 2006 to 2008 after the last kiwifruit was removed. Bert is now regarded as one of New Zealand’s authorities in the special craft of growing and pressing olives. Every bottle of Viridis Grove extra virgin olive oil reflects his passion and dedication.
A selection of oils are produced, including some strong green early season varieties, as well as more delicate oils from more mature fruit. From time to time special blends are also bottled.
The majority of the trees at Viridis Grove are the Italian varieties Frantoio and Leccino. Pendolino and Moraiolo complete the Italian mix. Some smaller areas are planted in Koroneiki and Picual for their peppery oils and Manzanilla for bottling.
The oil is presented in a dark green bottle with an attractive olive green label with gold foil printing.
Viridis Grove is located just north of Katikati, a township in the beautiful Bay of Plenty on the north coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Katikati is situated about two hours by road from Auckland and half an hour from Tauranga. Click here for a map.
The Bay of Plenty enjoys a Mediterranean climate with the nearby Pacific Ocean tempering summer and winter extremes. Rainfall approaches 2000mm per year with occasional heavy falls; in winter some light frosts do occur.
Viridis from the Latin for “green” reflects the evergreen nature of the grove environment, the oils and olives, and the way we live our lives and conduct our business. The special craft and an enjoyable lifestyle is instilled with love and dedication in the great taste of the oils which combined with the health benefits can be enjoyed by everyone.
In 2007 a custom built Press House was erected to house the Enorossi Centrifugal Press and auxiliary equipment imported from Italy and production of the first high quality extra virgin olive oil commenced. Fruit from fellow growers is also pressed and, if required, bottled.
In 2008 a first pressing of naturally green avocado oil was made from locally sourced avocados. As this oil was well received by consumers it is now part of the oils offered for sale by Katikati Frantoio Ltd.
The grove management and pressing operation are New Zealand Gap accredited; a confirmation of commitment to good practices and food safety. Prior to the 2011 harvest formal Biogro accreditation for organic production is expected.