Tim Jupp is full of surprises, experienced and focused beyond his years. Young and talented, this fine dining chef has moved away from the 80 hour working weeks his chosen profession demands to chef at Commonfolk in Mornington, where the hours are much more conducive to family life. Given that he and his wife Michelle have four children under the age of 11, you can understand his life choices.
However when you are creative, energetic and well connected, opportunities present themselves, and an ambitious talent like Tim has just the right drive and tenacity to seize the chance to make award winning local olive oil. And so Main Ridge Olive Oil Company was launched in February of this year, when Tim and Michelle decided to make the most of an offer to take on the consignment of two olive oil farms that had olives ready for picking.
With a property in Flinders (The Burraworin Estate, which won a silver medal in last Fine Food Awards) and in Paringa Road in Red Hill, Tim has access to several types of green and black olives including Koroneiki, Piccholine and Frantoio. “You get different flavours and different poly counts from different types of olives,” explains Tim. “The two olive oils we are producing at the moment are single estate. Later this year we will be harvesting olives from different varietals of trees, so we will be blending the two varieties to hopefully create a gold medal winning blend.”
Tim has had a steep learning curve over the last few months, having already picked and pressed his first harvest. The season for picking olives is usually around May, but the groves were ready to harvest a little earlier this year. Laboratory testing of the leaves shows the level of oil and determines when the olives are ready, and harvesting is carried out by machines where possible and by hand where the mechanical pickers can’t gain access. The olives are placed in large tubs and transported to local Pressers within two hours of being harvested, where the olives are cold pressed (no chemical extraction or heat extraction), and the oil extracted at a constant temperature under 27 degrees celsius. The first olive oil will be ready by mid May.
A lot of time, effort, thought and consideration has been put into the packaging design for the Main Ridge Olive Oil range. Created by a local designer, a special paper bottle wrap features hand-drawn sketches of the complete olive oil production process so that those who enjoy the olive oil an also gain an understanding of how it came into being. The 700ml bottles of boutique olive oil will retail for $26.
Tim has big plans for Main Ridge Olive Oil Company. He is already set to enter his Main Ridge Olive Oil in the Fine Food Awards later this year, and plans to attend the New York Olive Oil competition next year and hopefully enter the range in Japan next year as well. “As I learnt about the industry, the production process and the industry certifications, I quickly set some clear goals. Next year we will expand our offering with a pantry range, using the overflow of fruit and vegetables from our grower who also has organic farms,” says Tim.
Tim will be handling the distribution, selling to local pantry and grocer shops on the Mornington Peninsula and in the CBD, as well as direct to the consumer online. He will also be supplying bulk tins to restaurants and the fine dining industry and the overseas market will develop once Tim attends the competitions in New York and Japan.