The edible garden
Forage Byron Bay is situated on 12 acres of land in Northern NSW between Byron Bay and Mullumbimby.
We are very fortunate to have well established native trees on the property including Bunya, Quandong, Lilli Pilli, Macadamia and Davidson Plums. We are investing in a productive native edible garden with the addition of finger limes, Midyim and lemon aspen. Non native subtropical trees include pecan trees, white sapote, loquat, mangoes, lychee, longan, carambola, grumichana, guava, candle nut, and jaboticaba. Due to our climate we are also experimenting with the growth and production of spice plants including cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, curry leaf, tamarind, vanilla bean, star anise, all spice and clove.
New additions include a citrus orchard, figs, avocados, and experimentation with dryer climate fruits such as pomegranate and olives.
Below is a guide (work in progress) of plants found on the property listed by botanical name, detailing the local harvesting season as well as resources for processing and cooking.
Scroll down for a list of useful gardening resources.
The Bunya tree.
A tall evergreen coniferous tree growing 30-45m in height, with a tall straight trunk and dome shaped crown (flattening as the tree ages). Leaves are dark green and glossy and are very sharp. The Bunya tree heralds from the Jurassic era and can live for up to 500 years! A tree takes 10-15 years to mature and produce mature cones. They are hardy trees growing in a variety of soil and temperature zones (North QLD to Tasmania!), although they prefer subtropical climates.
Wind pollination occurs Sep-Oct with female cones taking 18 months to develop leading to nut production every 2-3 years in Dec- March in Northern NSW. Cones can weigh up to 15kg and are a hazard when falling (we wear helmets to harvest!). Our last harvest was in December 2017 with a low nut ratio. Cones can produce over 100 nuts/cone.
Our main problem has been bush rats and possums taking a good share of the produce prior to harvest!
To open the cone - options include splitting a green cone with an ax or waiting for the cone to disintegrate (happens within 1-2 weeks of falling). It's easier to open the seed when young. There are many options including roasting the nut and allowing it to split open (beware exploding nuts), boiling and then cutting outer shell open or cutting the raw nut shell. This is the best method I have seen to date: http://www.littleecofootprints.com/2015/03/how-to-open-and-cook-bunya-nuts.html
The nut is gluten free and is comprised mostly of starch. It contains approximately 9% protein and 2% fat. The Bunya has a significant place in Indigenous bush food history with many resources available on the internet.
Recipes in development and will be posted in the blog under "Bunya".