Once termed ‘The Mediterranean of Australia’ due to it’s idyllic climate, Boort is home to Peter and Marlies Eicher, certified organic olive producers and passionate advocates of sustainability, environment and hand-gliding!
‘The trees are happy. And not just the olive trees with their thick, strong trunks and green branches heaving with olives, it’s the fruit trees too. There’s an abundance of them at Saluté.
“Quinces, apples, pears, mulberries, apricots, plums,” Peter happily points each one out as we wander through the property. “What we don’t eat, we are making it into preserves, relishes, chutney and jams.”
Peter is full of energy and enthusiasm. His passion for growing and manufacturing in the most simple and environmentally friendly way is immediately contagious.
“Everything happens here at the farm,” he explains. “Planting, growing, picking, producing. Then, the waste is used as compost that helps the soil and we use this as fertiliser on our trees. This helps the cycle begin again.”
There is so much about Peter’s response that summarises the life and business that is Saluté. Smart solutions. Zero waste. Environmental awareness. Good hygiene. A low carbon footprint. An understanding of the eco system in general. Not to men on a solid work ethic.
In the 1990s, Peter worked an as auto engineer in the north of Switzerland. His wife, Marlies, was studying to become a textile engineer. It’s hard to imagine either ever had another career before olives though. This passionate pair look so happy, relaxed and at home on their 31acre olive grove just across the highway from Lake Boort in north central Victoria.
“I got a job in Melbourne and thought I’d just come out and work for a few months, maybe a couple of years, and then move back to Switzerland,” Peter explains. “Life in Switzerland is good, there was no reason to leave.”
Marlies finished her course and came out to see Peter. More work opportunities arose, babies were born and the two fell in love with Australia. They’d always hoped to live and work in the country and they needed space to follow another passion: hand gliding.’
An exert from the recently published book, ‘A Sense of Place’, written by Sonia Anthony and Amy Doak. To read Peter and Marlies’ complete journey and the story behind Salute Oliva, purchase the book online here: https://oftheworldbooks.com/product/asenseofplace/