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All right - not everyone's `on the net' - but if you are, join an electronic discussion group that will make communciation in the industry - the sharing of ideas, swapping of dates, recipes, hints, questions, requests to buy and sell, management and the thousand and one other things we all need to know that much easier.
In the not too distant future, we'll have a fully interactive, searchable page on the net - but while it's under construction we can start the ball rolling with a simple `network' of email addresses.
The discussion will be moderated and all parties involved will receive copies of all appropriate emails sent. Hopefully, before this all becomes too cumbersome for the magazine to administer, the `proper' page will be up and running.
By the time you get this magazine, I'll have begun the discussion with a mailing to my current list detailing forthcoming events and some species/seed requests and offers for sale. As with any discussion group, you can `unsubscribe' at any time. The group will have some simple rules (bushfoods and related topics only, no spamming and no heated arguments!)
If you're not on the net yet, let us help you get connected...
And on a personal note.. Thanks to all the people who have contacted me on email - thanks to you who have simply dropped me a line - and a big thanks to those who have called to ask why they hadn't yet recieved the next issue - it's heartening to know you care enough to spend the dime - hope the wait's been worthwhile. Keep calling - our lines are open! Well, OK, the line is open.. Sammy
Once again, I would like to thank those who have helped produce this 10th issue:
1. PIB Formation meeting: enthusiasm got the best of me. Some rash part of my nature said hit the throttle before everyone was on board. The proposed meeting to put together an interim national body has been postponed till further consultation is undertaken. It will happen - but not quite as quickly as I was advocating. See page 6
2. In the Issue 9 article on toxicology research by the Hegartys, I limited the number of species being investigated to 10 - in fact they will be looking at more than 10 species.
I enjoy the magazine and although its commerical production focus is not my primary area of interest, I nevertheless find the information valuable and thought provoking,
Larry Geno's article. on raspberries in Issue 9 is one such example. We have been growing Mt Archer Raspberries, Rubus probus, formerly Rubus fraxinifolious in our home garden in Rockhampton for many years. The original plant came from Mt Archer, where the species occurs naturally on the southem slopes from about the area known as The Saddle to the summit. For years, the wild fruit was collected from the roadside by kids on bikes and locals "in the know", until severe bushfires and council clearing destroyed most of the easily accessible bushes.
Our plants now occupy a long narrow bed along the eastern side of the house. As they spread easily from root suckers, this allows replacement of old canes, but simplifies control and containment of what can become a rampant grower under good conditions. We prune, trim and remove old canes just as one would with European raspberries, and fertilize, mulch and water regularly. The fruit is large, sweet and succulent, excellent eaten raw or cooked. The plants bear heavily during the winter months and we need to pick daily. I often freeze excess fruit until I have the time to make jam or syrup.
Our biggest problem is competition from birds, especially the black faced cuckoo shrikes. They pick the fruit in flight, and then progress to landing and walking under the overhanging branches to pick the ripe fruit invisible from above. We've tried all sorts of bird scarers and nets, with varying degrees of success. Green shield bugs late in the season (when the plants are beginning to feel heat stress) can sometimes be a bit of a pain, but that's about it.
I assume Larry is writing from the perspective of the Northern Rivers of NSW, as some of his comments certainly don't apply to the situation in central Queensland, where this is the main local species. The others are Rubus moluccanas and and Rubus parvifolius.
I have some problems with the name "Atherton Raspberry" for such a widespread species (as I imagine others would have with the local Rocky name), as it suggests a very localised and specialised plant, needing specific conditions, which this one certaily doesn't.
Perhaps this is one situation where the name `Queensland Rasperry" or even "Native Raspberry" might be less intimidating to potential growers. Nevertheless, it is a plant which deserves much wider recognition as a tropical and sub-tropical berry. It is vigorous and relatively easy-care, and .will reward the grower with large quantities of easily harvested delicious fruit. A small patch in the backyard will keep a family in berries all winter, and if a little prior thought is given to the placing of the bed, it can be mown around, or backed on to a wall and maintenance will be minimal.
And then ......... raspberry jam, raspberry syrup, raspberry topping, raspberry pie, raspberry vinegar, stewed raspberries, raspberries and ice cream, Peach Melba with fresh raspberry sauce, raspberry in champagne and raspberries in the lunchboxes...... delicacies previously considered temperate climate treats.
Regards, Lenore Lindsay, ASGAP Australian Food Plants Study Group
To the editor,
I felt that I must pass comment on the article, "Naturally Australian, Naturally Guaranteed", by Margret A.Bailey. According to Ms. Bailey's categories, we fall into the number four slot, medium scale commercial grower. I thought that I would mention this so that the impression is not given that we are just home or hobby farmers. I question Ms. Baileys suggestion that commercial growers need their own association, as she also states that the wild harvesters should do the same. Heavens above, why stop there? Why not set up further associations for the Koories, the home gardener, the bushwalkers and tasters,etc and tie everyone up with unnecessary paper work and rules? I thought that all of that type of regulation was only associated with "Yes Minister". Then there is the suggestion of a body called, the Association of Independant Commercial Organic and Biodynamic Growers of Australian Food Plants,(AICOBGAFP). The initials alone sound like a remote railway station in Wales. Ms. Bailey also beats the drum for organic or biodynamic certification, another impost to the often struggling growers.We are striving to become organic growers ourselves and we totally agree with the concept ... but... what I am tired of hearing is the constant bayings of the converted, "get certified." We know that it is the best way to grow but please stop trying to ram it down everyones throat ( I should be certified and put in Callan Park). I am not attempting to ridicule Ms. Bailey, but I received quiet a lot of negative vibes when I read her article. 1 feel that a lot more thought should have gone into it,after all, more associations and rules won't help the fair dinkum growers to improve their quality or learn more about the natives they are striving to grow. `Simple' is the key word and I hope that the coming conference keeps this firmly in mind. Thanks for a fine magazine, Sammy,
Bob Morgon Holloways Rd. Woolgoolga N.S.W.
Dear Editor -
Thank you for mentioning the bushfood flavours under production by Product Makers (Issue 9, p. 15).
A few essential facts gained from my enquiries to them looking for markets may interest readers. Product Makers make bushfood flavours by processing actual bushfoods. These are termed natural flavours. They also make bushfood flavours by identifying the flavour components and then sourcing these same flavours, oils, aromats, etc from other natural sources (such as eugenol from clove to mimic riberry). These are termed nature identical flavours in the food industry and typically contain no bushfood content. According to Product Makers' sales managers in Sydney, they are working on new flavours like lime. This type of industrialisation of bushfoods should be of utmost
concern to the industry. If bushfood flavours are nature identical or synthisised, there will be no reason to preserve them in the wild nor produce them in plantations. Reliable sources claim Australia is currently exporting products containing these `flavours'. Wake up, Australia!
August 14th 1999
At Griffith University.
Bushfoods magazine and others are delighted to present a one day bushfood conference on August 14th at Griffith University. Great line up of speakers and lots of networking guaranteed.
Please contact the magazine for further details:
ABm, 38 Mountain View Rd, Maleny, Qld 4552
Ph: 07 5494 3812
Fax: 07 5494 3506
Australian Sandalwood ~ Graham & Iris Herde
Eremocitrus glauca ~ The Editor
Eucalyptus - edible and useful ~ Christine Jones
'Synthetic' crops ~ Rob Fletcher
The Growing Cycle ~ Mary Meadows
Grower's Notes ~ Wandu Yerta
Bunya ~ Peter Lewis
Pouteria (syn. planchonella) ~ David Sommerville
Bushfoods & Farm Forestry ~ Margaret Bailey
Native Bees ~ Dr Anne Dollin
Broken Hill Project ~ Steve Ross
Quandong ~ AQIA
What's it taste like? Akadjura
Dr Anne Dollin and Paul Wagner of the Austalian Native Bee Research Centre paid a flying visit to Maleny in January of this year and swapped notes and anecdotes with the editor over lunch. `Aussie Bee', the centre's excellant magazine, was launched the same month as this publication and the two have been cross promoting since that time.
The lunch was pleasant, the company both entertaining and informative and the upshot was a deermination to work even more closely together to spread the word about our unique bees and bushfoods.
Dr Anne Dollin, the editor and Paul Wagner
Having wild harvested the prolific Bunya Bunya for three years, the editor decided to form the `Bunya Consortium'. Good idea. Bad timing.
I had contacted and involved such people as nutritionists, pharama-cologists, toxicologists, tempe makers, chefs, soya bean growers and naturopaths, I was ready for an avalanche of enquries and a steady stream of resourceful research into this under-utilised food. The season got later and later. I waited with growing perplexity for the cones to begin appearing. And waited.
They say the Bunya has a bumper crop once every three years. There is some dispute about this just as there is disagreement over this year's `non-crop'. Was it the wet spring? The dryish summer before? The transit of Venus? Who knows? I was just happy to find a cone beneath a mature tree at a friend's block in Gympie. We took the photo to prove its existance and then I gave it back to her. She'd only got two cones all season and she wasn't about to give one away. I'm betting there will be a bumper crop this coming season, just to balance things out.
In 1997, the Australian Greenhouse Office was formed to establish a National Carbon Accounting System of land based sources and sinks. Greenhouse gas sinks constitute those sectors of the environment which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (eg. plants and forests) rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. An emissions trading system, if introduced, would be based on a permit that authorised the holder to emit a specified amount of greenhouse gas. Carbon sinks, such as forestry plantations, could be incorporated into an emissions trading system by allocating credits, for the amount of carbon sequestered (stored in plants). Plantation operators could sell these credits in an emissions trading system. There is no official system currently in place that provides carbon credits to owners of forest plantations, which could potentially be sold or banked in an emissions trading system.
Farmers, for instance, should be aware that carbon sinks, which meet Kyoto Protocol requirements, could become a valuable resource over the course of the next ten years and should plan accordingly.
For more information on Emissions Trading:
firstname.lastname@example.org For more information on the carbon tax in general, email:
In the last issue, the proposal for a `formation meeting' to develop a peak industry body was put forward. Although there appeared to be quite a lot of enthusiasm and interest in this, the response to the questionnaire was disappointing - just 40 forms received back to date.
If you'd like a form sent to you, contact the magazine and I'll send one out directly.
Here are the interim results: please note that the small numbers have skewed the results. Also, not all respondees filled in all the questions and some answered yes to more than one so there are some seeming anomalies in the totals.
An Association of Associations: Yes = 10
Open to growers and harvesters: Yes = 17
Open to all: Yes = 15
1 form of Membership: Yes = 12
Member and associate member: Yes = 13
Fees: (averaged - there was one suggestion of $500 across the board which has raised the average considerably!)
Individual: $84 pa
Firm: $121 pa
Should each regional group have a representative on the committee?
Yes = 8
Prioritising of activities:
3. Develop national database
4. Research and development
6. Assist in formation of regional groups
7. Establish links/Funding
10. Facilitate Aboriginal involvement
Australian Bushfoods Ass. - 4
Australian Native Foods Ass - 4
Native Foods Australia - 1
Native Australian Foods Ass - 1
Australian Foods Ass - 1
National Bushfoods Ass - 1
Australian National Bushfoods Ass - 1
Not Bushfoods or Bushtucker - 1
To be discussed at meeting - 1
(I rather like the last one!)
The comments were too extensive to reprint here so, once again, if you'd like the full results, drop me a note and I'll send them to you.
I thank those of you who took the time to fill it in - now I'd like around another 100 so we can start to call it representative!
Earlier this year, the Bushfood Special Interest Group of the Sapphire Coast Producer's Association were successful in gaining NHT funding for their project `Non Timber Farm Forestry'. Planning is well underway, with some plants in the ground on some properties. The greatest challenge at present is sourcing sufficient diversity of tubestock.
The objectives of the project are:
1. To develop 6 (six) plantations of `non timber' farm forestry in the Bega Valley and Eurobodala Shires of NSW. The locations of the plantations will be selected according to differing soil types and different micro-climatic conditions. The results of the initial plantings will enable other members of our Association and the community to determine which particular species are most likely to flourish on their own property.
2. Provide a plantation source of bushfood products and local genetically sourced propagation material. This will expand sources of plant material for subsequent plantings and thereby enable the continued establishment of new industries without denuding the remnant vegetation.
3. Utilise otherwise degraded (defined as being non-productive) and/or weed infested land and
4. Show the local commercial farmers that planting of native species not only benefits the environment generally (ie erosion and weed control and increased native fauna habitat) but can also be of long term commercial value.
Is this the ultimate woodlot?
Graham & Iris Herde,
Nectar Brook Discovery Plantation
PO Box 393 Port Augusta SA 5700
Six years ago Iris and I decided to plant Quandongs as a potential commercial crop and we did, some hundreds in fact. Our first move was to research this interesting plant and that led us seriously astray. `Quandong', put into data base search produced little, but Santalum hit the main lode. Lots of material on the tropical species and enough on the Australian sandalwood.
This looked too good to be true, a native Australian tree with an existing export market for the timber, and the value - in excess of A$10,000 per tonne.
Fortunately, the research data base was small, neither of us had any horticultural qualifications and we were unaware of other people's successes or mistakes. This ignorance allowed us to blunder on, make our mistakes, then try again with a more lateral approach and eventually succeed.
This success must be qualified. We can propagate 90% of seed, bring 98% of these germinants to the planting out stage and establish over 90% of them in plantation. The oldest plantation trees are five years and they show a growth rate of about twice that of wild trees. After all, under irrigation they get a good year every year! What the future will bring no one knows. Will we have enough host plants for these hemi-parasites? How long to maturity? Will the Asian markets last? Will we live long enough to see a result, etc?
The 3.2 hectares containing one thousand sandalwood and two hundred and fifty (soon to increase to three hundred and fifty) Quandong is a reasonable addition to the asset base of our property.
Can you grow sandalwood?
Our climate has hot, low humidity dry summers. Winter is cool with occasional frosts.
Average rainfall is 300mm. Our water supply is mineralised at 2,300 ppm. Calcium and magnesium predominate. Soils are well drained clay loams of low fertility and a pH of 8/9.5. This has put you off, hasn't it? Not many places are this bad!
What I am telling you is that sandalwood do not care about soil types if they are well drained. They like water even if it is water you would not drink. Summer heat may be necessary. If you are patient and prepared to do it our way you will get at least our results.
Should you grow sandalwood?
Australia has been selling two thousand tonnes each year, all from West Australia. The percentage of dead wood is increasing each year and it is not unreasonable to expect increasing pressure to further limit the collection of green timber. Our Asian neighbours have used sandalwood in religious and funeral rites for thousands of years. The pressure on land for other purposes is limiting plantings of the tropical sandalwood in these countries.
The macadamia-sized nut is good eating, a dry land macadamia, in our opinion. The Aboriginals used the nut for food and for medicinal purposes. A research program conducted at the Curtin School of pharmacy, WA Uni by Yandi Liu and R.B.Longmore established the existence of potential anti inflammatory, anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic agents within the nut.
The nuts may become more valuable than the timber.
The best case scenario for our little experiment is an eventual asset worth a million dollars in today's money.
Sandalwood could be the ultimate woodlot....
New name in the Industry -
Recently a new name surfaced and seems set to make further inroads to the foodservice, food manufacturing and cosmetic markets. The company has a broad range of native products in stock already, including fruits, nuts, herbs and seeds in fresh, dried and processed forms. A national distribution system is in place with additional links overseas.
Over the last 2 years they have developed a range of specialty native food extracts, concentrates, encapsulated products and solubilised native flavours for the manufacturing and general food markets. New grinding, roasting and flavour technologies have also been recently developed to expand the applications for the native fruits, nuts, herbs, seeds and oils on offer.
The company has an existing team of dedicated people with over 37 combined years of experience in native foods and a mixture of science, business, marketing and promotional expertise plus a strong base of contacts across food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
So who is this company ? Well no surprise, it's the new name for the well established Bush Tucker Supply Australia. The owners, Vic Cherikoff and Bradley Field, recently moved the business to larger premises
and an export rated plant at Rozelle on the Sydney CBD fringe. They committed to change the name at the same time, reflecting the business and industry's new positioning. The new warehouse/ office will have larger freezer stores, a training kitchen and greatly expanded product display.
The company structure, ACN and staff remain so you can expect the same professionalism, phone support and marketing efforts.
If you haven't experienced the former Bush Tucker Supply Australia level of service, give them a call to either supply goods, purchase products or see their new livery and products.
Australian Native Fine Foods Pty Ltd
(formerly Bush Tucker Supply Aust., established 1983)
30 Gordon Street, Rozelle, NSW 2039
Ph (02) 9818 2800, Fax (02) 9818 2900
Driving out to Roma last December, I determined not to waste a long, hot drive but to wild harvest on the way. Top of my list was the wild lime (Eromocitrus glauca). Acacia were to be found where they could and I was rather hoping to chance upon some wild thyme (Ocimum australis) and perhaps bush tomato (Solanum spp).
A fine conceit. The problem was simple - how was I to know these plants when I chanced upon them? I've seen the books, I've even sampled some of the wares - but these plants and I were not close acquaintances, most especially at 100km with a semi up the number plate.
I learned to drive with swivel vision. Scan the roadside vegetation and glance at the road now and then to keep on the black and steady. Look for flowers or that glint of shiny fruit which indicates something's going on. Up over the Conondale Range, down through Kilcoy and then up into the Blackbutt Range and on towards the Darling Downs.
Depressing. Has every single person in the last 100 years planted nothing but exotics?? I hummed a polka and found some contentment in the fact that the birds had learned to adapt to trees which would more rightly reside in the Black Forest. Still, visions of a chainsaw massacre crept into my mind...
Into the flatlands. Good cracking clay and miles upon miles upon miles of sunflowers. Somebody's
got to grow them, I guess, but couldn't they have left a few strips of native vegetation? A windbreak or two? A bird suburb?
Dalby. Hurrah! Roadside fencelines atumble with an assortment of native and exotic vegetation left to its own devices. Lots of plants I didn't recognise but they certainly looked native. Lots of prickly pear. Lots. And more (hadn't they eradicated this dreaded cactus?). Something which looked like...well, buggered if I knew but it was certainly native.
I had brought my styrofoam harvesting box and thoughtfully packed it with ice and cold drinks. Stems and flowers and fruit went into this, each packed in a clip lock bag with ? written on the label. I chanced upon a massive grove of spindly shrubs with beautiful grape sized red fruit. I sampled one and quickly learned the art of spitting profoundly. My mouth dried and shrivelled and my tongue cried Uncle! OK - needs a little work but it didn't make me barf so it must be tucker.
Alongside a railway line, I harvested a large box-ful of Acacia seed (still unidentified) which I
have since separated, winnowed and roasted. I am very proud of the vegemite jar of roasted wattle seed which took me only 18 or so hours to produce. Makes you appreciate the skill the Aboriginal people had in living (and living well), `off the land'.
OK, I decided to get a junk food breakfast and forget it. Ahead was Chinchilla and then Miles. I'd stop at some picturesque spot and have a cuppa and something not too good for me.
Entering Miles, I sighted a school with some decidedly sad scrub surrounding it. There was a dirt track running down beside it. I was tired and thirsty and it was school holidays so I veered onto the track and bumped my way along to the shade of a spindly tree. There was still luke- warm tea in the thermos and no one seemed to want to bother me for my trespass. Bliss.
The tree's not too large but it gave adequate shade and it seemed to have a small crop of bumpy little yellow things...
Get away! I had parked under an old Eromocitrus glauca. I was sitting in a grove of them. Even as I sat, one of them fell onto the bonnet.
The tea was forgotten. The harvesting box came out. I crunch ed crunched over dry earth from tree to tree, plucking ripe fruit and humming Waltzing Mathilda. I wanted to hug the shrubby trees but they were too spiky. Besides, the school caretaker might have been watching.