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Issue 11

June July 1999

A Solanum centrale Association

Most readers of this invaluable Bushfoods Magazine will be familiar with the Solanum centrale, often known as the bush tomato or desert raisin.

As with some other Australian native foods, the majority of Solanum centrale are wild harvested. Being an arid land plant the quantity available is very dependent on weather - rainfall in particular.

So demand for this strong flavoured berry often outstrips supply. Not a satisfactory situation for anyone in the industry. The problem is further compounded by the ever increasing demand for the fruit.

To alleviate the situation, a number of communities and individuals are cultivating the Solanum centrale using a range of horticultural methods. It would appear that many of the growers are experiencing similar problems and to date each grower has tried to solve the same problems in their own individual ways. Needless to say a very inefficient use of resources.

To overcome this dilemma and improve the industry's chances of having some serious R & D carried out on this plant, it has been suggested that growers of the Solanum centrale should form an association.

Now is a particularly opportune time to consider such an association as there is a student, Cassandra Collins at the University of Adelaide (Waite campus), who is to spend the next three years studying Solanum centrale for her PhD in Agricultural Sciences. The quality and quantity of R & D that Cassie will be able to carry out on the bush tomato will be much greater than any individual grower could hope to achieve. What will be discovered in the next few years could improve the output of the cultivated bush tomato plant enormously.

So if you are a grower of Solanum centrale and feel that you could benefit by being a member of an association devoted to improving the viability of this most promising crop, then fill out this simple form and mail it to the address show, now - before you put it aside and forget it.

YES, I am interested in the concept of an association for growers of Solanum centrale

 

NAME: ..............................................................................................

ADDRESS: ..............................................................................................

PHONE: ........................................................................

FAX: ..............................................................................

1. Approximate nos. of plants in the ground. ........................

2. How old are the plants? ....................................................

3. Is plant death a problem? ..................................................

4. Are plants affected by sap sucking insects? .......................

5. Are plant fruits eaten by mice? ..........................................

6. Are plant fruits eaten by millipedes? ..................................

7. Do fruits harbour grubs of months? .....................................

8. Do plants produce varying quantities of fruit? ....................

9. Is good pollination an issue? ..............................................

10. Do you have problems germinating seed? ..........................

11. Describe other problems you experience with the plant in cultivation

..............................................................................................

12. Any suggestions or comments ........................................................................................

So that you are informed of future progress of the Solanum centrale Association ensure that we receive the above form no later than 4 weeks after the distribution of the Australian Bushfoods magazine containing this article. Thanks.

Please send completed form and any other contribution to:

Ray Rogers, Tanamera Bush Foods, Hunt Rd, McLaren Flat, S.A. 5171

For further information phone (08) 8383 0374

Index 11
From the Editor
Letters
News
Queensland Bushfood Association
A word on Buying Seed
Yarrawarra Aboriginal Corp
What's fruiting?
Native Herb Forum 1.
Ethnoecological Research.
Illawarra plum.
Methods of Growing Bushtucker
Bushfoods and Farm Forestry
Bushfood Artist.
Backhousia citriodora.
FEATURE: Davidson Plum.
Principles of Oil Extraction. J
Queensland Conference.
Solanum centrale association.
Somewhat Useful Pages.
The Value Adders: Greg Trevena and Fudge A'fare
Book Review.
Red Ochre Grill
Famous Palates
 

The Somewhat Useful Pages

The following is from the bushfood discussion group on the net - thanks Brian!

Nut crackers & mechanical sorting

Hello everyone. A few thoughts on mechanical harvesting / processing equipment. Simple nut crackers can be based around a recycling press, the type available for household use for squashing tin cans etc. They can be modified to take a wedge shaped blade or similar `fitting' depending on size of nut. As they are reasonably light weight, it should be possible to use one in the field. Take a look at one, it may give you some further ideas.

Now to sorting fruit. At Muntari we have come up with a device for grading quandong and lily pilly fruit into sized lots. Basically it is a rotary sieve, a number of metre long 300mm dia PVC tubes (must be food grade though) with holes drilled around and along the length of each (forming a sieve). All tubes are mounted at an angle and are attached to central shafts which are driven from one small DC motor (you could use an old windscreen wiper motor). A hopper (or tray) is placed at the highest end of the rotating tubes and a small paddle wheel at the bottom of the hopper feeds each sieve with the fruit at a reasonable enough rate to allow the fruit to waddle down the tube and fall through a hole. Rotating the sieve ensures the fruit is held in the tube long enough to find it's way through a hole of the same diameter and onto a tray underneath. Any fruit larger than the hole size wanders out the other end of the tube into a container. The fruit that comes out the end is then placed back into the hopper, the hopper is positioned in front of the next rotary sieve (with larger holes than the last sieve) and the process is repeated again. There is a little bit more to it but it does work and very little fruit bruising occurs. Hope this stimulates more thought on the subject.

Cheers Brian King Muntari Wild Food Plants

 

Do You have some useful thoughts or

devices?

Share them with us - send to the `Somewhat Useful Page' care of the

magazine:

41 Coral St, Maleny 4552, Fax: 07 5494 3506, 

email: bushfoods@optusnet,com.au


Due to Increased Demand...we would like to purchase more:

Illawarra plum

Bunya nuts

Bush tomatoes

Wattleseed

Small limes

Please contact Bradley or Vic at:

Australian Native Fine Foods

on 02 9818 2800

or email

bradley@bushtucker.com.au

 

More Somewhat Useful Pages

1. The unpatentable tool for pricking seedlings out of trays and dibbing hollow holes into tubes 

dibber

PVC pipe - dia. to suit

 

 

2. An adjustable sieve thing for sorting seed.

The second mesh square is added for smaller sieving. Tie wire to hold reduction mesh in place. Hinged arms with latches - mesh cut at angle to form criss-cross and reduce sieve size. 

3. Home-made bottom warmer. I asked an electrician about the safety aspect and he reckoned it was fine. The blanket is needed between the plastic and the electric blanket to stop overheating.

Plastic sheet

Old blanket

Electric blanket

Newspaper or foam

 

 

 

Seed bed

 

 

And A Big Thank You to the University of Illinois, for this gem:

Removing Fruit - Cherry.

There is no practical method to remove fruit from a cherry tree, including the use of chemicals. Consider removing the tree permanently with the aid of a saw at ground level.

4. Low Tech - But it Works

Harvesting the fruit of our Native ginger (Alpinea caerulea) is easy - removing and cleaning the seeds for packaging I found a real chore. First time around I painstakingly broke up each seed pack and removed, strand by strand, the cotton wool flesh, resorting to tweezers for the final clean. This time around I did the obvious thing and gave each fruit a gentle chew. Flesh and seeds separated nicely, I got some Vitamin C into the bargain and the `cleaned' seeds needed only drying prior to packaging.

Canberra Organic Growers Society Inc.

COGS is a non-profit organisation providing a forum for organic growers in the Canberra region. COGS encourages the community to adopt organic growing methods. Members have access to community gardens, meetings; and receive the COGS Quarterly publication.

Canberra Organic Growers Society, PO Box 347,

DICKSON, ACT, 2602

The Value Adders

Rainforest Foods:

trevena

Proprietor: Greg Trevena 

Greg has been harvesting from paddocks and the wild for 2 1/2 years, gaining knowledge on tasty crops and economically harvestable crops.

He has been researching rainforest food for 6 years.

He came up with the name, label layout and design for Rainforest Foods. He still harvests the crops, makes and markets the products himself. Introductory taste tests are also conducted in shops.

The aim is to develop and market unique, quality food products that originate from the subtropical rainforest immediately behind Byron Bay (Byron hinterland).


Dear Sammy,

I've been a subscriber to your magazine for a while. I guess, over the time, I've progressed to the point at which my product may be of interest to your section on `Value Adders'

In April 1998, I started a rainforest plantion/orchard of about 1 hectare in size with 18 species in total and 6 major species including Riberries, Davidson plum (NSW and Qld), Illawarra plum, Lemon aspen and Black apple (completely chemical free).

This mixed planting attempts to replicate nature as much as possible.

Take home a taste of the rainforest

In November 1998, I commenced Rainforest Foods, based in Byron Bay.

I was fortunate enough to get `Flavour of the Week' in the Australian with Cherry Ripe, primarily for my jam. I would love to find some connections in far north Queensland to stock my product.

Greg Trevena

Ph: 02 6685 7226 or

0409 716 424

34 Brownell Dr, Byron Bay NSW 2481

I currently produce Riberry jam, Riberry syrup, ground Lemon myrtle, Macadamia oil and organic Macadamia paste

riberry

On the whole, I market my product in Northern NSW and a few outlets in Sydney - gourmet delicatessens, health food stores and tourist spots. I'm still pretty much a one man show. I rent a commercial kitchen to make my produce.

Lemon Myrtle - How to Use

Lemon myrtle with fish or chicken

1. Wrap the fish/chicken in alfoil

2. Add a good sprinkle of ground Lemon myrtle

3. Cook, using the Lemon myrtle for no more than 15 mins - prolonged cooking diminishes its flavour.

 

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