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Cemetery plots move into olive oil business

Primary Industries

A small batch of South Australian olive oil with a grave history has been bottled today.

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About 12 dozen bottles of the extra virgin olive oil pressed from olives grown at Adelaide’s oldest graveyard is being prepared for sale in what is believed to be the only commercial release of its kind.

The West Terrace Cemetery limited edition extra virgin olive oil was pressed from the fruit of 60 olive trees that have been growing at the city cemetery since the 1860s. The trees are believed to be Olea Europaea planted by the cemetery’s first curator, Henry Brooks, who was a good friend of George Francis, the first superintendent of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

The olive oil was first produced commercially in 2013 but none was pressed last year. Adelaide Cemeteries Authority will keep some of the 250ml bottles for gifts, but the remainder will be sold through Jagger Fine Foods at the Adelaide Central Market.

Adelaide Cemeteries Authority Chief Executive Officer Robert Pitt said he was not aware of any other cemetery that produced its own olive oil.

The oil will be delivered to the iconic market ready to be sold for $17.50 a bottle by the end of the week.

Jagger Fine Foods owner Robyn Siebert said she had received a number of inquiries about when this year’s batch of West Terrace Cemetery olive oil would be available.

“Customers like buying it for a number of different reasons,” she said.

“Some people have family members buried at the cemetery, others like it for the novelty value, while some nearby residents like buying product grown in the city.”

“It’s a good oil. The olives come from old trees which gives it a particular quality, much like aged vines produce high quality grapes.”

West Terrace Cemetery has been a feature of Adelaide since Colonel William Light identified its location in his 1837 plan for the city. The State Heritage Listed cemetery is one of Australia’s oldest capital city cemeteries and is the final resting place of more than 150,000 South Australians.

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