The old adage ‘from little things big things grow’ is the perfect way to describe the evolution of Rich Glen Olive Oil.
What began as an idea by Ros and Daimien Vodusek to sell oil and salad dressing products from a spare bedroom in the family home has evolved into something they never saw coming — retail outlets selling more than 190 products made direct from the family’s olive grove.
It all began for the Vodusek family when Daimien’s parents Franc and Marija fled to Australia from Slovenia in the 1960s.
Driven by a desire to succeed, the couple established a butcher shop, supermarket and abattoir in Yarrawonga in the ensuring years.
Franc and Daimien also decided to plant 36,000 olive trees in 1996 under the premise they would set the family up for life.
Varieties included frantoio, manzanillo, kalamata, Spanish queen and coratina.
Fast forward a decade and with an excavator booked in, Franc was looking to pull the grove out.
“At the time we couldn’t make any money out of olive oil. It was costing us around $5 a litre to produce and we were making $2.80 a litre, but the trees were mature and fruiting well,” Daimien said.
Ros and Daimien wanted their kids to grow up on the family farm. So Ros decided it was time to start value adding, beginning with the sale of olive oil-based salad dressings.
“We moved one of the babies out of the bedroom and set up a little shop and started to sell a few things through an honesty system,” Ros said.
“We started with Poppy’s Favourite Dressing and funnily enough it still remains our best-seller today.”
And the business just grew and grew.


Daimien was still running the butcher shop and it wasn’t until about five years later the family realised what was once a fledgling business now had the potential to support the whole family.
The business had evolved to include a farm gate shop and café, as well as a long list of olive oil products, including a successful skincare range.
In 2019, the family had its biggest year ever on the farm with more than 90,000 people driving through the farm gate.
The farm gate café was known for its down-to-earth hearty foods and a famous passionfruit sponge which repeatedly brought returning customers back to the farm.
“We had beautiful grounds, a farm gate café, lambs and goats running around and fruit and vegies visitors could go and pick, along with 20 staff to run the place,” Ros said.
“People were always really interested to see and hear about where their food came from and the farm gate was the perfect place to educate the wider public on the importance of agriculture — natural, home-grown products have always been the key to our success.”
And then COVID-19 hit.
But rather than dwell on that particular problem, the family pivoted and with warehouses full of product needing to be sold, the online store really took off.
The farm gate closed in March 2020 and the family opened the Rich Glen Provedore in Yarrawonga in September 2020.
In 2021, Rich Glen Orangerie (home, skincare, wellbeing) opened, followed by the Echuca store in November 2023.
Across the business there is now 65 employees who are involved in every stage of the process, from harvesting and pressing the olives through to creation, manufacturing and distribution of product.
“The retail business has grown into a great source of pride for all of our family, costumers love the experience of stepping into our shops and we really focus on quality products and great personalised service,” Ros said.
They have plans to open more stores in other tourist towns in the future.
“It all feels like a whirlwind really, but I guess we have always stuck by our original belief to sell natural, home-grown products and we are always amazed by the support we get from locals who are continually bringing family and friends into our shops,” Ros said.
During the past 18 months, some of their product range has found its way into boutique Woolworths gourmet stores around the country, as well as exported overseas to Singapore.
Last year, olive oil production around the world was down significantly, mainly due to poor climatic conditions. Rich Glen only produced about 70,000 litres down from an average of 180,000.
“There is a huge demand for extra virgin olive oil this year and we are expecting good returns,” Ros said.
She said she was happy the family decided to give the farm shop a go and not pull out the olive grove.
“Rich Glen is a beautiful property and our farm and the grove now have a solid future, made even more exciting by the fact our children are all involved in the family business,” she said.
Son Jack, 28, is stepping into the role of chief executive officer, while Hannah, 32, is heavily involved in skincare.
Ava is in Year 12 and uses her art skills to help with a skincare range for youthful and sensitive skin, while Max, 14, is a budding entrepreneur in the making, organising a chocolate range and a soon-to-be released fragrance line.
“Franc was a huge mentor to all of us, and in particular Jack, and when he has to make a big business decision he often asks himself what would Franc do?” Ros said.
“It is so comforting to us to know Franc and Marija got to see the success of Rich Glen and for Daimien and I to have our kids involved is a great source of joy and keeps us focused for what is next.”