Laharum Grove rehabilitation: Volunteers help after Grampians fire

LAHARUM Grove owners Richard and Deirdre Baum have thanked volunteers who helped rehabilitate their olive trees at the weekend.

Most of the grove’s 11,000 olive trees were burnt in the Grampians bushfire in January.

About 60 volunteers assisted with pruning at the height of the two-day working bee.

Mrs Baum said a busload of students from Ballarat Grammar arrived on Saturday afternoon, doubling the group’s working capacity.

“We are so grateful to everyone who took the time on their weekends to help us,” she said. 

“We pruned about 1000 trees.”

She said the working bee had put the business in good stead to finish pruning by the end of the month.

By liberating the burnt trees of dead wood, Mrs Baum said new shoots would have opportunity to flourish.

“We’ve been able to produce about 700 litres of oil this year, enough to cover the restaurant and a market we do,” she said.

“We didn’t expect to pick half of that – it’s a lot more than we thought we’d get.”

Fire damage has set the business back at least five years in terms of olive oil production.

“We won’t be supplying to retail outlets or bulk suppliers, as we have done in the past,” Mrs Baum said.

She said it would take about three years for the trees that weren’t badly burnt to recover, and about five years for the others.

Meanwhile, the Baums are focusing on the grove’s restaurant.

Deirdre’s Restaurant has been open for eight months. 

Mrs Baum said the restaurant would close for a month from Monday, re-opening on September 12. 

“We need a break,” she said.

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