22 Jan 2016

Cracking the Hard Nut

From Country Life, 9:22 pm on 22 January 2016

When the trees are flowering your nose might lead you to Wyn and Chris Daniell's orchard.

"Drive down our road with the window open and, when you think you're in paradise turn right and you'd be here."

Wyn and Chris have one of New Zealand's largest macadamia nut orchards on the edge of Tauranga Harbour near Katikati.

Wyn says the flowering trees are beautifully fragrant and the trees prolific.

The Daniells grow almost 1000 macadamia trees along with kiwifruit on their orchard.  

They planted their trees in the early 1990's in between the kiwifruit vines and had to wait ten years for the first crop.

Now they are harvesting nuts nine months of the year.

The nuts are husked on the property but the cracking of the nuts and the recovery of the kernels is out-sourced as is roasting, flavouring, chocolate coating, oil pressing and the distilling of macadamia nut liqueur.

Macadamia nuts are native to Australia, are part of the protea family and are related to the New Zealand Rewarewa.

Despite their Australian origin, Wyn says the trees do particularly well in their harbourside setting.

His 984 trees are intensely planted on just two hectares which some overseas visitors agree shouldn't work.

"But then when they look at the yield, they scratch their heads and say 'whatever you are doing you are doing right' because we have an exceptionally high yield based on Australasian experience, probably higher I think that most in Australia would be achieving per hectare".

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