We love local — and that means Otago!

by | Jun 14, 2022 | News

Otago artisans, makers, distillers, vintners and brewers are the latest local producers to feel the love as the popular New Zealand gift box service We Love Local expands into the region.

We Love Local ‘s Otago Gift Box features some of the best from the Otago region, including Ocho Chocolate, Kitchen Window Catering and Dunford Grove Olive Oil.

Community and sustainability are important values for the award-winning oil producer, operating from their scenic property on the shores of Lake Dunstan. Co-owner Jocelyn Robinson says the support she has seen within the olive oil industry is more akin to a big family than competing businesses, which means they can boost each other — as well as their local communities and economies. “We grow mainly the Tuscan varietals of Frantoio, Leccino and Pendolino as they are best suited to the extremes of the Central Otago Climate,” says Robinson. “The underlying philosophy at Dunford Grove is to provide an environment for the olive trees and ourselves where everything can do its very best in harmony with our surroundings”.

Owners Sandy Black and Jocelyn Robinson moved to Dunford Grove in 2015, taking on to the established olive grove and 400 hazelnut trees. Sustainable practices at the Grove include composting waste, using the pomace (olive paste) left from pressing. Prunings are mulched or used to create Biochar, a fine-grained bio-charcoal, which is returned to the soil along with the compost and seaweed teas. They also make pure olive oil soap from the oil left after racking. Central Otago’s arid summer climate also means a spray-free approach can often be used, as there is minimal disease in those conditions.

Jocelyn says olive-picking in Central Otago is done early to avoid the frosts. “This results in a lesser oil yield because the oil develops as the fruit ripens but we end up with a distinctive Extra Virgin olive oil. It’s a really good reflection of the Central Otago terroir, and when you can literally taste the characteristics of the land, you know you are not only enjoying a premium quality product, but also a truly local experience”.

We Love Local owners Val and Timo Reitnauer acquired the gift box business in 2020, just before the first Level 4 Lockdown. Gifting intentionally and sustainably, they also donate one percent of all their profits to charities via the One Percent Collective. The company has returned almost $1 million dollars to small business all over New Zealand since 2020 by sourcing only from local producers and makers. Launching into Otago will take the company over that threshold.

Timo Reitnauer says COVID-19 restrictions increased the appetite for locally made products, and they’re excited to add Otago makers to their offer. “During these unpredictable and difficult times, it’s heartening to see the love Kiwis have for the products made in their backyard and local communities”, says Reitnauer.

We Love Local offers regional gift boxes from Kāpiti, Wellington, Horowhenua, Wairarapa, Auckland, Canterbury, Taranaki and now Otago. The company works with passionate local producers to showcase the best products from each region they represent. Boxes are curated using premium products from each region, carefully packed so customers can experience the best of Aotearoa’s producers. We Love Local delivers nationwide.

See more of the Otago Gift Box here




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