Squeezing heaven from Hemel-en-Aarde olives


A holiday is often the inspiration for new ventures and this was certainly the case for Mary Ann and Hans Evenhuis. They turned their holiday inspiration into reality after a visit to olive groves on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. The couple moved from their busy Johannesburg lives to Hermanus where Mary Ann had roots and established a farm in Hemel-en-Aarde. ImageThey changed the farm’s name from an unceremonious DIEPGAT to a more appropriate HEMELRAND and planted olive trees in 2007. Hans and Mary Ann obviously got it right with their olive groves as their coratina single grove oil received gold at the 2013 SA Olive Oil Awards.Image

As if tending olive trees were not enough the Evenhuise planted lavender and rosemary and added a wine cellar to their collection of enterprises in Hemel-en-Aarde. The cellar was a by-product of a search for olive oil processing equipment that led to a farmer who offered a package deal that included winery machinery. Wineries need winemakers and again fate intervened. A son of Mary Ann’s varsity roommate Michelle Alheit was considering options for the establishment of a new winery. Chris and Suzaan Alheit makes for a perfect match with their award winning Alheit Vineyards wines complementing Hemelrand’s quality olive oil. Vines were planted in 2010 and 2014 saw the first harvest of Hemelrand’s own white blend.

 Looking to taste the fruit of the grove? Visit Hans and Mary Ann and taste their marinated olives and olive oils at the Hermanuspietersfontein market every Saturday morning.

The following olive varieties were planted at Hemelrand:

  • Coratina – one of the most important Italian olive varieties
  • Frantoio – only for oil production and characterised by a peppery taste
  • Leccino – mild, sweet flavour and used with Frantoio in Italy’s premier oils
  • Mission – small, black fruit with high resistance to cold and popular in South Africa. Used for eating or oil making.

Visit www.saolive.co.za for olive oil information