Watercress Creek Olives & Limes
Ipswich has a steady supply of fresh olives, olive oils and limes thanks to Pine Mountain’s Watercress Creek Farm.
Lorraine and Bernie Mahon at Watercress Creek Olives & Limes have a dedicated farmgate shop on their farm and once a year (April 8 in 2018), they host a country festival with live music, stalls, wine and cheese and helicopter joy flights.
Visitors can browse shelves lined with infused oils, vinegars, tapenades and jams – all made on site next to the olive grove and lime orchard.
Specialties include a ‘bruschetta spread’ and whole dried figs – grown on the farm – preserved in a rich aged balsamic. The figs also go into a luscious sweet jam.
“This used to be a dairy and small crops farm,” says Bernie, a fourth-generation farmer on the mountain.
“It was originally 240 acres but farming wasn’t really profitable in the 1960s and 70s so the property was divided up among the family and my parents got this place.
“It’s only 14 acres so it wasn’t big enough for anything else so I put in some olive trees.
“It turned out to be a lot of hard work – there are a lot of olive groves in Queensland that don’t produce well because of our climate, although our manzanilla and the arbequina do very well,” he said.
Watercress Creek also produces kalamata, jumbo kalamata and frantoio olives, and the lime orchard continues to produce more every year as the orchard matures and more tree are added.
The Mahons have created garden settings around their new shop and hope to eventually include a coffee machine and morning tea menu. The Watercress Creek Olives & Limes shop will be open on weekends after mid-January and by appointment up until then.
For the ultimate drop-in experience, Pterodactyl Helicopters can even land on the farm – on a hill specially cleared for this purpose, in the olive gorve.
And don’t forget to circle April 8 on the calendar – that’s when the annual Watercress Creek Olive Festival will be held for 2018 with live music, stalls and picnicking among the fruiting trees.
Pine Mountain, home to myriad birds and flora, including century-old hoop pines, is a scenic 15-minute drive from the Ipswich CBD.
The 2018 festival runs from 9am-3pm on Sunday April 8 at the farm, 53 Bryces Rd, Pine Mountain. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per car.