We know that olives can be very polarising and that’s most apparent when it comes to children. Even the most adventurous of children can be reluctant to try them and so we were really intriguied to see how an olive tasting day, with 7 year olds, would work out.
We offered to run a Junior Olives Masterclass with Lime Tree Primary School, at the end of our road, to teach the children where olives come from, the different types and also what they taste like. This was gong to be a major challenge because if they didn’t like olives…the day was a bit pointless. Assured that they would have a try we opened the doors to a lovely bunch from Doctor Suess, Roald Dahl and JK Rowling classes.
Now we’re used to running these for colleagues, retail buyers or food technologists – but not 90 children so keeping it short and snappy was critical – lots of questions and a nice visual presentation!
Here are just a few of the things they learnt
- Did you know an olive is a fruit? That’s because it has a seed (stone) inside
- An olive tree doesn’t start producing olives until its about 7 years old, but can live until its 500!
- Green and black olives both come from the same tree – green olives are picked in September, but if left to ripen (until December) then they turn black
- You can’t eat an olive straight from the tree – the oleuropeins (chemicals) in the olive flesh make it too bitter to eat
Mixing it up with olives
They also got the chance to take part in a hands-on mixing session where their brief was to make ‘child-friendly’ olives that their siblings, families or friends could try. From each of the six groups, there were a number of non-samplers (including teachers, we’d like to add!!) but we were pleased that most of them got involved – even if it was just eating the cheese that they could mix with their olives. Every child and teacher went home with a self-mixed pot and there were lots of smiling faces.
We got some great feedback from the children and here’s what they said:
Year 3 visited Winterbotham Darby as part of our ‘Scrumdiddlyumptious’ topic. We learnt lots of interesting facts all about the journey olives take from the tree to the supermarket shelves. We couldn’t believe that somewhere right on our doorstep supplies olives to Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons!
We were then challenged to create a new, child-friendly flavour of olives. We had an array of cheeses, herbs and olives and had lots of fun tasting everything and mixing different combinations together. Our families and friends enjoyed tasting our olives, so we must have done a great job!
So we’d say it was a success and we hope we’ve encouraged the next generation of olive consumers!
To learn more about olives, see our Winterbotham Darby Guide to Olives – an handy infographic to explain the different varieties of green and black olives, where they’re grown and how you can use them.