Willow Creek Olive Estate

Our Factory

The evolution of our factory is not only a testament to our commitment towards our customers, but also showcases our love of innovation and the spirit of excellence engrained in our company culture.

Our Factory

square meter

Processing

tons per hour

Oil extracted at about

Degree Celsius

Locally Produced

%

South African

Humble Beginnings

Willow Creek Olive Estate’s state-of-the-art factory is nestled amongst the olive groves on our farm and covers roughly 5 000 square meters. Over the years, the equipment and technology used to process our olives have changed to accommodate our growth, but our passion and dedication remain resolute.

The evolution of our factory is not only a testament to our commitment towards our customers, but also showcases our love of innovation and the spirit of excellence engrained in our company culture.

Our factory had humble beginnings, with our first batch of extra virgin olive oil extracted using an Oliomio extractor. Back then, we could only process 50 kg olives per hour. A year later, we exchanged the Oliomio extractor for a Pieralisi decanter, which allowed us to push our olive processing capacity up to 450 kg per hour.

We started with only

kg per hour

Now we can process up to

tons per hour

Where we are now

In 2008, a 3.5-ton Alpha Laval joined our processing line in an effort to feed the growing demand for our olive oils. In 2014, it was replaced by a state-of-the-art Pieralisi Leopard 8 press which sports a processing capacity of 6.5 tons an hour.

Willow Creek Olive Estate is one of the largest South African plants equipped with this leading technology.

The Protoreattore malaxing unit in combination with the Pieralisi Leopard 8 press is used to extract the oil. This shortens the oil’s malaxation time and exposure to oxygen, maintaining optimum levels of polyphenols in the oil.

Our oil is also extracted at temperatures around 28°C (82°F), ensuring that the goodness and nutrition in the olives are preserved.

We handpick all of our olives. This not only boosts employment in our region but also ensures that all our olives remain in prime condition. Our harvest-to-extraction process is locked in to under six hours, thereby ensuring great-tasting, high-quality olive oil.

Our dedicated factory personnel is responsible for preserving our table olives, and bottle and package the rest of our products.

Why our quality exceeds expectations

At Willow Creek Olive Estate, we do our utmost to keep up with the times and continually upgrade the technology we utilise to guarantee production efficiency. Our impeccable product quality reflects our love for innovation, both on a technological front and in terms of cultivating creative problem-solving skills within our team.

However, our quest for excellence won’t benefit prospective customers if we don’t go the extra mile to explain what differentiates our brand. For this reason, we staff our claims of goodness and quality through international food safety accreditation.

On 2 January 2020, we achieved a significant milestone by receiving our FSSC 22000 accreditation. This certification allows our customers to have confidence in the quality and safety of our products knowing that we have a rigorous food safety system in place.

 

Whether we are bottling, packing, or storing our products, physical and chemical inspections are done every step of the way. Stringent testing measures are implemented to determine the peroxide value and the free fatty acid formation in every batch of oil we make. This tells us how much oil degradation or oxidation has already taken place and allows us to meet our customers’ quality expectations.

Every year we also do a full chemical analysis according to the South African National Standard (SANS 1377), which helps to classify our EVOO products as extra virgin.

 

Goodness is in our nature

We participate in the SA olive CTC scheme

We also participate in the SA Olive Commitment to Compliance (CTC) Scheme which means that all of our customers are buying olive oil that is of top quality. The CTC seal on all our bottles guarantees the following:

    • The content of our products is 100% South African.
    • Our bottles display the year of harvest, indicating the freshness of our oil.
    • We are committed to the standards set in the SA Olive Codes of Practice, which are based on international quality standards.
    • We are committed to honest and transparent labelling. If our bottle label states the content is extra virgin, then that means we have verified that the content is in fact extra virgin and not virgin, or refined olive oil.

Maintaining the golden standard

As our factory’s Quality Assurance Manager, Hester de Wet is responsible for overseeing and ensuring the quality of our award-winning product line. She sets the production standards and pulls all the strings to ensure that her team meets the stringent regulations that guarantee food safety and the well-being of our staff.

As an experienced food scientist with two BSc degrees under her belt, Hester’s passion to uphold our product line’s sterling reputation is fuelled by her love of food. Since joining our team in 2018, she has seen to it that the team culture lends itself to the production of our excellent olive-based products.

She also drives the competitiveness of our product line by ensuring that our oils are recognised in both the local and international olive oil market. By making sure that our award-winning product line gets the accreditation it deserves, Hester has taken up the mantle of turning Willow Creek Olive Estate’s ambitious aspirations into a reality.

Hester de Wet (Technical Manager)

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