25 November 2022

Riverina Made: When Frank Dal Bon found olive trees, he started making olive oil

| Chris Roe
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man and woman

Farmer Frank Dal Bon runs Morella Grove with the help of his daughter Natasha. Photo: Supplied.

Who are you and what is your business? Frank Dal Bon and I run a diverse family farming business which grows a mixture of crops, like cotton and rice and we also have Morella Grove Olive Oil.

Where did you begin? Well, I’m growing my 53rd rice crop this year. I met my wife Jan in the late 60s and her father had a soldier settler block after the Second World War. We moved out here and in ’84 we took the plunge and bought it and then we expanded and some of the country we expanded on had some olive trees on it. We gave them a shake and got some fruit off and crushed some olive oil and thought, OK, we’re gonna do that. We got set up with a label and called it Morella Grove because the property is called Morella. That was about 20 years ago.

READ ALSO Riverina Made: Food I Am is all about celebrating local flavours this Christmas

What do you produce? We started out selling the olive oil around the place and then we got our caramelised balsamic going and selling through restaurants and markets and field days and at a few supermarkets. Then we had people ask us about olive oil soap, so we thought we’d develop that too. My daughter Natasha came on board about six years ago and that really changed things because we developed a lot more products that she’s doing now.

Olive oils

The Dal Bons sell more than their signature Morella Grove Olive Oil. Photo: Supplied.

Where can we buy your products? We’ve really expanded and I think Natasha’s got about 260 stores and I’ve got very busy online. The Riverina has been really good to us selling our products all around the place.

What should we buy for gifts this Christmas? At Christmas we do some wonderful gift packs. They’re all different products; she’s got some of the olive oil in there, the balsamics and you can buy them as a three-pack or with bigger bottles. She’s got quite a good range that she’s developed.

gift pack

The gift packs are a great option for Christmas. Photo: Supplied.

What’s your favourite product that you make? The one that’s really really working well is the balsamic and also the chili relish. It’s extremely popular and obviously the olive oil as well. People really enjoy the olive oil.

How would you promote the Riverina? We’ve got involved with doing markets, and especially with the Griffith visitor centre and also promoting the area. It’s incredible the amount of people that have come here for the first time and just how positive they are about the area. It’s amazing how many people use social media as well to show what’s been produced down here. So that’s been very positive for the Riverina and for a lot of small food businesses like ourselves.

What’s your favourite coffee spot? There’s a little coffee shop out at Beelbangera where they make wonderful coffee.

Coolest local thing you’ve ever bought? We just updated our new air-seeder planter and we absolutely love it!

Who is another local producer you admire? There’s a new company that’s doing almond milk in Griffith and they are just doing a fantastic job actually. It’s Mandole Orchard, which is ‘almond’ in Italian.

What do you want for Christmas? We just need a bit of a break from this weather we’ve been having.

You can learn more about Morella Grove and stock up for Christmas here.

Region Riverina is committed to celebrating our local producers and creatives and encourages everyone to buy local.

If you’re aware of someone who’s making something amazing, let us know!

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