9 Jan 2014

Primary school's olive oil a special blend

4:56 pm on 9 January 2014

A Nelson primary school is blending education and environmental awareness by making its own olive oil.

Clifton Terrace School in Atawhai makes and sells the oil, with pupils and their families helping in the process each year.

The oil has been named after Stan Carter, who was caretaker at the school for many years and pioneered the project. After the Nelson City Council donated 10 trees to the school in 1996, he encouraged the children to pick the olives and make oil.

Now retired, Mr Carter says he's proud of the children and reckons Stan's Extra Virgin Olive Oil punches above its weight.

"I would say it's equal to anything that's on the market. The gentleman that actually did the first pressing, he was an olive oil taster and he said it was good as any oil he's tasted. It was very good, it's got a slightly peppery taste to it."

Clifton Terrace School holds a prestigious Enviroschools award in recognition of its efforts to promote green and eco-friendly projects. Principal Rob Wemyss says the olive oil is part of the school's ethos.

"Kids these days, they go to the shop and they pick something and take it home and eat it and don't really understand where it comes from.

"So for us it's about trying to explain to children where the things come from - whether it be the olives or veggies from our veggie garden - and so that they understand taking things from seed and growing them right through and then doing something with them."

Pupils are hoping this year will be a bumper crop. Sophie Wemyss, 11, says it's a great bonding experience and a fun way of learning more about the environment.