The olives of ‘Shalom’By: ADAM HARTMAN
‘SHALOM’ is the oldest commercial olive producer at the coast. Its popularity for its extra virgin oil has continued to increase over the past 13 years.
But what started as an experiment for Werner Ermann and his wife Christel, today, from their initial 50 trees, the former auto-electrician and his wife boasts 1 400 olive trees.
From the olive trees, the mainly cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil is produced. Currently, ‘Shalom’s’ black and green table olives and dried olives from eight different cultivars are so popular that the Ermann’s can hardly keep up with the demand.
“We were not sure in the beginning but took a chance. Research revealed that the soil and water here at the Swakop River was too brackish to grow olives, but experience has proved otherwise. Even scientists were astounded at the success of olive trees here,” said Werner.
The first fruits were harvested in 2003, and mainly used as table olives then, but in 2005, the first olive oil was pressed, bottled and labelled under the ‘Shalom’ brand.
The Ermann’s also erected vegetable tunnels where a wide variety of vegetables are grown all year around, except the green popular asparagus, which is seasonal.
To ensure their products reach more people, Christel also started a weekend fresh produce market at Shalom, currently run by Juergen and Sabine Baas. Here, most of the olive products and other fresh river products from greens to dairies are sold. Light meals and cakes are also served.
“What we have here at Shalom is a satisfying nurturing of a dream and its fulfillment and what makes it a blessing is that we can share it with others,” said Crystal.