Zagorje resident Miro Mraz took the leap and started an olive plantation in March of this year. He planted 30 olive seedlings and recently completed his first harvest, collecting 26 kilograms of olives and producing two and a half liters of oil from them. Initially, Mraz considered taking the olives to an oil mill, but ultimately decided to process them himself using a hammermill to grind the olives and an ordinary grape press to complete the oil extraction process.
Mraz chose to plant three varieties of olives, including one domestic variety called Oblica and two Italian varieties known for their tolerance to lower temperatures. While winters in Zagorje are no longer as harsh, frozen ground still poses a challenge for young olive trees. To ensure the success of his plantations, Mraz plans to protect the soil by implementing measures such as mulching and using organic fertilizers. If the olives survive the first three years, they will become hardy enough to endure the winter without additional protection.
Despite initial skepticism from the people of Zagorje, Mraz is optimistic about the success of his olive plantation. He has already ordered additional seedlings for further planting, with plans to eventually fill the entire plot with olives. As news of the olive grove’s first fruits spread, skepticism turned into interest and support from the local community. Mraz acknowledges the initial skepticism from his fellow Zagorje residents but is pleased to see them now considering combinations of Zagorje wine and olive oil thanks to his successful harvest.
Overall, Mraz’s decision to start an olive plantation in Zagorje has paid off with a successful harvest that has sparked interest among locals who are now considering new ways to combine local products like wine and olive oil with innovative recipes and dishes that showcase these unique flavors.