Show #73: Rob McGavin on Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the Cobram Estate story


I get asked all the time: “I want to leave a review but HOW?” So here’s how to leave a review on ITunes on your phone?

Don’t be “in your show” where you see all the episodes, you won’t be able to do it. Just go to general podcast app and hit the search icon. Type in Low Tox Life. DON’T click on one of the single episode /shows that comes up, click on the Low Tox Life square tile. Once clicked on that, you’ll see 3 tabs: Details. Reviews. Related. Click subscribe, then click reviews and there you can write your review. 2 words, 1 sentence, biggest AHA… Doesn’t matter, just for you to leave one is so much appreciated and helps us stay visible in ITunes charts and Thrive. Thanks so much guys, Alexx x


Now onto the show…

In this show I, your host Alexx Stuart, chat to Rob McGavin, who once a humble farmer with an idea to grow olives and produce oil, is now the largest supplier of olive oil to Australia as well as an international award winning olive oil producer, supplying globally. We discuss fear around olive oil for cooking, quality and the ramifications of the common practice of ‘mystery blends’ on the market saying that they’re olive oils, health benefits of good olive oil and he shares tales from the groves and growing the Cobram Estate business. He’s an inspiring man, passionate about olive oil and thrilled that the much maligned olive oil when it comes to cooking, is taking back its rightful place as one of the best all rounders you can have in your kitchen. Enjoy his infectious enthusiasm as much as I have done in chatting to him for the show and visiting the Cobram Estate groves last year for an unforgettable trip.


Here’s a little snapshot of the juicy bits in today’s episode…

  • Rob McGavin grew up in a farm and went to agricultural college. He then decided to produce olive oil with a friend of his.  They originally were supplying the oil to Cobram Estate and ended up buying the Estate when it got sold from the family who owned it back in 2006. Little did they know then that their product will become so popular. Today they produce over half of Australia’s olive oil and they were recently awarded best olive oil in Australia by Choice Magazine.
  • Along the journey, Rob made the sad realisation of how adulterated the olive oil industry was: a lot of so-called “olive oils” are actually being purchased from different unreliable sources and blended together.
  • There’s an enormous amount of labelling loopholes in the olive oil industry. Olive oil looks very similar to other refined seed oils (canola, sunflower, rice bran) that are all treated with heat chemicals and solvents, contain trans fats and are commonly mixed in with olive oil to sell a cheap product. Do not be fooled by labels such as “extra light”, “pure” or “100% olive oil”. The difference between low quality and high quality olive oil is so stark from a nutrition, health, flavour and smell point of view.
  • “Extra virgin” is the highest quality juice of the olive and it’s all you should be buying. Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil is only produced from the freshest olives harvested on the farm itself or from reputable growers that they work with. They ensure the olives are harvested at the right time, crushed quickly and stored appropriately to deliver the finest and highest quality olive oil.
  • What makes extra virgin olive oil special is that the flavour and the smell come from the antioxidants and these are unique to olive oil.  They are here to protect the fat from oxidising and  they are extremely beneficial to our bodies. Recent studies have found that no food comes close to olive oil when it comes to preventing chronic disease.
  • The way olive oil is stored is very important. It should be in a dark bottle in order to preserve the antioxidants. Once opened you should use it between 4 to 6 weeks.
  • The intensity of the olive oil comes from the variety of olives grown. Like in the wine industry, there are different types of strengths and flavours. Cobram Estate produces a light intensity extra virgin olive oil which is sweet delicate and mild and won’t overpower dishes. Their Robust variety on the other end is full and more potent in taste.
  • You should always smell and taste the olive oil you use to see whether it is good to consume: if it reminds you of something fresh, it’s a good sign. If you can’t smell anything or it doesn’t smell appealing, avoid using it. Extra virgin olive oil should always leave your mouth feel fresh and clean, not oily.
  • Olive oil is the safest oil to cook with. Studies done recently show that the higher quality the olive oil the more you can cook with it because the high amount of antioxidants infuse into your food and protect the integrity of the oil. You can even deep-fry in extra virgin olive oil if budget allows!
  • Although not certified organic, Cobram Estate doesn’t use pesticides in the production of their olive oil. They use natural predators in the groves to attack the scales, the mites or anything that puts the health of the trees at risk, in favour of spraying whenever possible.
  • If you don’t live in Australia or wonder how to access the best olive oil in your area, try to head to a farmers’ market and do a tasting as much as possible before you buy it. Or try to buy direct from producer (a lot of great producers have online stores now).


And here are a few extra important links:

Find out more about Cobram Estate HERE.


Enjoy the show and thanks again for taking the time to rate and review the show – it’s like tipping the bartender and it means the world.

Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet



Comments 5

  1. Thanks soooo much for this episode! It was so what I needed right now & I learnt so much. It has eased my confusion on olive oil & I feel confident in my choices now.

  2. I have only recently found your site, I am listening to the podcasts from the beginning, but I skipped to the Olive Oil one because I happened to have a Cobram Estate bottle in the pantry at the moment! I had been buying whatever brand of EVOO was on sale. No more – Cobram Estate only from now on I reckon.
    I use it for the nutritional benefits not the flavour as I don’t like the tastes of olives – I only buy the ‘delicate’ intensity, and I had never tasted it straight, until Rob mentioned how to taste-test for quality, so I summoned the courage to try a teaspoon of oil straight in my mouth – was very surprised that it wasn’t ‘oily’! And I might even graduate to the ‘classic’ intensity one day, to increase the antioxidants.

    I would be very interested in reading more about the studies Rob mentioned on antioxidants protecting the oil during baking – are there any links available?

    Do I have it right that the antioxidants are gradually destroyed with heat, so the best way to get the full health benefits of EVOO is to use it uncooked (salads etc), but it’s safe to use in baking and frying, there may be less antioxidants but would still have it’s healthy fats ?

  3. Thanks for the podcast. Cobram EVOO hasn’t been available here in Singapore for very long. I discovered it by chance and still have some trouble finding it in most supermarkets and never the 750ml bottles, although I can find them online these days.

    Excellent oil. I have tried all of them (light, classic and robust) . Miles better than most brands at the supermarkets. I think Australian-made EVOO can be trusted more for authenticity than those coming from Spain and Italy. I am told Australia has stricter ‘laws’ about that.

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