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|Issue 4, Oct-Nov 1997|
The following is an extract from the book "Growing Australian Natives"
by John Mason, published by Kangaroo Press, 1997.
AT A GLANCE
Number of species: More than 800 named plus many unnamed species native to Australia. It is the largest genus in Australia.
Natural habitat: Throughout Australia in a wide variety of climatic and soil conditions (though only a few from tropical rainforests).
Flowering: There will be a species flowering somewhere in Australia at any time of the year with the heaviest concentration of flowering times occurring between late autumn to late spring depending on the species and where it is planted.
Some Acacias are amongst the most spectacular flowering native plants. Flower colours are almost
universally shades of yellow, ranging from pale through to golden.
Hardiness: Most are very hardy.
Habit: Ground covers, shrubs and trees.
Foliage: Varies greatly in shape & size. Colours are generally green to bluish-grey or silver. Acacias may have either:
1) Bipinnate true leaves
2) Phyllodes which are modified leaf-like structures that carry out the functions of the true leaves which are absent at maturity in most species
3) Cladodes which are stems that carry out the functions of the leaves. Both true leaves and phyllodes are absent.
Growth: Usually rapid.
Lifespan: Generally short-lived though some of the larger woody types such as A. decurrens and A. elata, can live a lot longer.
General Cultural Needs:
Suited to most soils. Some are sensitive to high phosphorus levels. A. spectabilis sensitive to boron deficiency. Many are sensitive to over-wet soils.
Borers are a major pest. Crusader bugs can also be a serious problem. Caterpillars are a problem on some feather-leaved types.
Pruning is risky, often resulting in die-back although many species will respond well to light pruning immediately after flowering. Respond well to watering in dry periods.
Propagation is by pre-treated seed ie. prior to sowing, place seed in a cup & pour boiling water over to soften the seed coat.
Allow the water to cool before removing the seeds for immediate sowing.
consultant and specialist grower of Tasmanian Native Plants.
Dip. Art, Cert. Hort, M.A.I.H
Ph/Fax: 03 62391 575
Mobile: 041958 7139
Padburys Alpine Bushfoods:
suppliers of Mountain pepper leaf, Alpine pepper leaf and a range of other alpine and sub-alpine native bushfoods from the high country of Victoria. Plants also supplied.
Ph: 03 5775 1424
or 03 5775 10178
A series of articles by John King
The Bunya (Araucaria bidwillii) is one of my local provenance species and I have been propagating and planting them on my property for some years, the main reason being that they are the only tree that I plant that the cows and horses won't touch. That alone is a big saving in tree guards.
The early pioneers claimed that the reason young Bunyas were scarce and restricted to two small areas of Queensland was because none of the seeds escaped being eaten, giving very little chance for the species to spread.
I have found them to be drought and frost tolerant.
The greatest problem is fire. I have had small trees killed by grass fires, and large trees killed by bush fires scorching only one side of the tree on the rainforest fringe. When the cones drop to the ground, the native animals will eat the seeds, but after the first week seem to leave them alone.
I am planting Bunyas on the farm as a future timber crop. Keeping fire management in mind, my future plantings will be in corridors linking my rainforest pockets.
In their native habitat, Bunyas tend to be found in moist, south-facing gullies and I have achieved the best growth from seedlings under these conditions. I have also planted Bunyas on dry, open hillsides and in dry schleryphyl.
When I plant them I give them about 1 litre of water and forget them. In dry areas they seem to spend longer developing their root system with less stem and leaf growth at first.
In either dry or moist areas I have had better than 95% success rate, with no site preparation or maintenance after planting.
I believe, as a long-term on-farm investment, they have excellent possibilities. I'm working on mixing them with my other local species like red and white cedar, rosewood, blackwood wattle, silky oak and deep yellowood to build cabinet-timber corridors using seed from my own property.
If every farm or rural block were to have some Bunyas planted on them, we could look forward to a more sustainable future for this glorious and stately crop tree.
Planting Commercial Bushfoods?
Why not consult actual producing plantation managers with sound experience, advanced designs and proven implementation skills.
Agroecology Associates offer phone or on site consultation, plant supply, financial services or total implementation.
Contact Larry Geno
(066) 886 274
Sabine Wienand and Hugh Longstaff own and operate an innovative bushfood firm based in Maleny, SE Queensland. Hugh is a European trained chef who has successfully introduced our native cuisine to restaurants from Sydney to Hayman Island. German born Sabine has a strong marketing and artistic background and they have over 14 years experience in the bushfood industry between them.
Both have been extensively involved in the foundation of a bushfood industry in Queensland through their involvement with the Qld Bushfood Co-operative and a number of indigenous communities.
Both have a commitment to a long-term bushfood industry based on innovative products which will appeal to more than just `gourmet shoppers'.
"We have been experimenting with product for over three years now and though the high-end delicatessen style products will always have a place, we are increasingly looking at mid-range items which will find a larger market." Sabine commented,
At present, their main products are:
make sure he does it over lunch - his menu alone is enough to set your mouth watering.
"We have a special bushfood dinner night coming up. I have to balance a wide range of tastes - from vegan to meat-eater. I also want to introduce people to bushfoods in a context they understand and feel comfortable with. For instance, our main courses for the night are Silver Perch on a bed of Warrigal Greens with Lemon Wardnee, Rib Fillet with Davidson Plum-Riberry-Chilli Salsa and Native Vegie Fittata with Bush Tomato Sauce and Salad. For desert, there's Wattleseed Pavlova and Bushberry Pudding with Honey anglaise."
Sabine would like to see the industry working more closely together,
"Network - talk to other people in the business even if they're your competition! Form co-operatives or at least form relationships with people in your area."
Hugh and Sabine, along with the Queensland Bushfood Co-operative and a number of indigenous groups and individuals, are putting this advice into practice - and the result can be seen in the pudding.
Next time you're on the Sunshine Coast, drop into the UpFront Club in Maleny - and stay for lunch!
Word of Mouth Bush BBQ Sauce (apple and mango spiced with aromatic leaves from the bush).
Secret Bush Herb Sprinkle (the mix is secret! The taste is sublime).
Myrtle Marmalade (a breakfast marmalade packed with the zing of the Lemon Scented Myrtle).
Backhousia Honey (pure Australian honey flavoured with Lemon Scented Myrtle) Call of the Bush Tea Mixture (Aromatic leaves combined with Australian tea).
They also market special gift packs such as their Australian Bush BBQ Kit (all the ingredients for a great barbie - and the story that goes with them!)
Cracking the export market has been a long term process, as Sabine affirms,
"It's not as simple as just sending product overseas and hoping someone will like it. A small firm such as ours simply doesn't have the resources to undertake the in-depth market research which would speed the process. We've used every tool at our disposal - trade shows, expos, the net, direct mail...it's been a slow process but it's now starting to pay off."
When Hugh talks about the catering side of their business,
From IAD Press
Aboriginal Publishing From Central Australia
60 Wattles of the Chinchilla and Murilla Shires,
If there was an `Acacia medal' in the New Year's honours, Grace Lithgow would have it on her mantelpiece now. The small book (80 pages) she has produced is one of the most enjoyable I have come across in some time.
Although the area she has concentrated on is small, the breadth of information in this book is quite staggering.
The book had its beginnings in Grace's sketch books. While some of us may have an interest in a particular subject, Grace had a kind of creative passion for the genus Acacia. Throughout her childhood in the Chinchilla district, followed by nursing training work with the Aboriginals in the Northern Territory, she sketched and drew, researched and made notes.
The illustrations in this book have all been newly drawn and checked against fresh collections but one still gets the feeling of `being there' with the illustrator/author as she studied the leaf and flower and carefully replicated it in her sketch book.
Arrente foods from Central Australia
From the complex ritual preparation and distribution of the kangaroo to the simplicity of enjoying sweet nectar dripping from a corkwood blossom, Bushfoods describes the traditional foods of Central Australia. Margaret-Mary Turner OAM., respected Arrente woman, shares the intimate knowledge of the country, showing how Aboriginal people obtain food from an arid environment.
Women's Gathering and Hunting in the Pitjantjatjara
This booklet examines the close link between bushfoods and Anangu (Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal people).
It looks at a variety of foods, from seeds and berries to grubs and goannas.
The illustrations are complemented by descriptive text which details habit, trunk, foliage, flowers, pods, seed, habitat, uses and notes.
The book also contains a useful Field Key guide which illustrates Acacias in flower and without flower.
The bulk of the text consists of illustrations and text grouped by the flower types found in the Acacia species.
The usefulness of this book as a reference guide aside, a small quote at its beginning sums it all up for me:
`All at once my childhood never left me
`Cause wattle blossoms bring it back again.'
John Williamson, `Cootamundra Wattle'
© E Music Pty Ltd
(Do Our Own Marketing Research)
Peter Twyford-Jones, Principal Marketing Specialist, Marketing Services Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane
Peter Blessing, Associate Lecturer in Marketing Faculty of Business, The University of Southern Queensland,
Rob Fletcher. Lecturer in Crop Improvement Department of Plant Production, The University of Queensland, Gatton College
Primary producers in new crop industries ask the following key questions about their product:
A short course is being developed to assist primary producers and other interested parties in answering these questions.
Marketing research should be the first step in developing new crop industries.
While most people acknowledge its importance, there are difficulties in conducting an objective and analytical assessment of a new product's market potential. There is a need to accurately quantify such things as the product's potential use(s), the target market, the potential prices, the distribution strategy, the market entry strategy and the manner in which a promotional plan would be organised.
It is difficult to measure future demand and price levels for a new product. Developers of new products can often become emotionally attached to their `offspring' and therefore can be unrealistic about the likely demand and price for the product.
Although there are extensive marketing theories available for new manufactured products, such products are often adapted from existing products, developed by large companies with large resources, represent a small proportion of a firm's overall investment and can be produced on a large scale from the initial production.
Such marketing theories frequently do not apply to new agricultural products, because new crop products are often completely new, requiring new production and processing technology, are developed by small companies or individuals with relatively limited financial resources, represent a large proportion of the firm's overall investment and may take years to achieve substantial production levels.
There is a need to improve the marketing research for new crop industries to reduce the losses incurred from investment in industries with no market potential, to prevent overproduction of industries with limited market potential, to ensure that resources are devoted to those industries which have the greatest market potential and to develop successful marketing strategies with new crop industries.
Marketing research for new crop industries conducted by publicly-funded bodies in the past has often been of a general nature. Dr. Shankariah Chamala of the University of Queensland has developed the Participative Action Management model with which a common interest group can achieve research and development outcomes of mutual benefit.
Dr Mal Hunter, Horticulture Centre Co-ordinator, Redlands Research Station, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Cleveland, has used such a model to develop the Do Our Own Research (DOOR) program for the nursery industry.
DOOR-Marketing aims to apply the model to assist primary producers and other interested parties with pre-feasibility marketing research for new crop industries. The development of this program is being undertaken by the Queensland Department Primary Industries and the University of Queensland, Gatton College with assistance from the University of Southern Queensland.
The Framework of DOOR Marketing
For further information contact:
Marketing Services, Qld Department of Primary Industries,
GPO Box 46, Brisbane 4001. Telephone: 07 3239 3251,
Facsimile: 07 3239 0439
Bushfoods Win Gold
Wild About You Bushfoods picked up 6 Gold and 1 Silver medal at the Royal Melbourne Show this year.
Their Quandong Truffle, Lemon Myrtle Chocolate, Wild Lime Chocolate, Wattle Seed Truffle and Illawarra Plum Choclate and special Boxed Chocolate Designs all won gold and their Macadamia won a silver.
Mary Ann Thomas and Susan Harper own and run Wild About You Bushfoods: they can be contacted on
03 9530 6844.
New Bushfood Group
The newly formed `Bushfood' special interest group of the Sapphire Coast Producers' Association (SCPA) held their first workshop on 18 October) in Bega.
The organisers had arranged for a selection of speakers with relevant experience in cultivating and growing bushfoods in the south eastern region of Australia.
Delegates to the workshop came from as far afield as Crookwell, Kangaroo Valley, Canberra, Narooma and Orbost (Vic).
Topics covered during the day included identification of bushfood plants with their raw and value-added products presented by Peter Gow (Chairman of the Group).
Merryn Carey spoke on the specific plants for the different soil and environment types in the region. Another of the speakers, Dr Elizabeth Blakeman of Orbost, shared the results of four years of trials on her 4 hectare property.
A representative from the Cobowra Local Aboriginal Land Council told of the TAFE training and government funded works being carried out in their region, providing both employment and the early stages of a tourist attraction.
Several other speakers told of their own activities, experiences and plans for the future. Delegates to the workshop were able to taste many bushfood products during refreshment breaks and the lunch break.
Future plans for the group include sharing of results of trials, visits to selected wild and cultivated areas and a pooling of labour.
The secretary of the group, Terence Carpenter, will maintain a mailing list of persons known to have an interest in Bushfoods. SCPA members will be kept appraised of developments through their magazine "THE PRODUCER".
Further details are available by telephoning the secretary on (02) 6493 2227.
From the Papers
A round-up of headlines from newspapers around the country...
Bush Tucker's Bloody Good Grub
(Sunday Telegraph, Sept 28)
Witchetty grubs, bogong moths and roasted cricket.
Bush Food Market Warning
(The Land, Oct 9)
Lemon Scented Myrtle prospectus.
Native Food Products Find Favour Overseas
(Qld Country Life, Aug 28)
Country Harvest exports bushfood products.
Diners taste of the wild
(The Australian, June 27th)
Australian Gourmet Wild Foods of Darwin.
Bush tucker is ripe for the picking
(sent without a newspaper name!)
Central Qld and the native lime.
Barbara Geno of Northern NSW is a recent Doctoral graduate who combines her study with her life. Her thesis (`Accounting for Sustainability in the Australian Rural Sector') dovetails nicely with the 35 species bushfood plantation she runs with her partner Larry Geno.
Dr Geno said that their plantation contributes to the preservation of bushfoods in the wild and noted that, as part of her doctorial research she had found that nearly 6% of farmers surveyed had valued remnant vegetation in their farm accounts.
"This type of valuation could be carried further through explicitly valuing preservation of genetic diversity on farms around Australia."she said.
Ït has been mooted that payment could be made to farmers for the preservation of remnant vegetation on the basis of such accounts."
Bush food fused with traditional cuisine
Central Qld's bushfood industry and Taste of Australia.
Bundjalung tucker a treat
(Northern Rivers Echo)
The Bunjum Aboriginal Co-op serve up bushfoods for Southern Cross Uni.
Bushfoods in a big way
(Acres Australia, Vol 4, No 6)
ANPI, Red Ochre and an overview of the industry.
Ken Dyer, Southern Vales Bushfoods
In October this year, Adelaide was host to `Tasting Australia', a government sponsored `big event' with heavy emphasis on the `upper' end of the industry - big name chefs, expensive wines, large tourism ventures, mega dinners, etc. The culminating event - and one in which the smaller players, growers and producers, value adders and restaurateurs got a guernsey, was an event in Botanic Park in Adelaide's Parklands on the final weekend of the show.
Two days of `A Feast for the Senses', in which the best that Australia could offer was on display. The format was regional and, from South Australia (the most numerous of the exhibitors) there was a large range of smaller players from regions such as Kangaroo Island, the Barossa, the Riverland, the Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills who set up their stalls and did their thing.
For the two days, Adelaide put on the best weather it could, up the `top end' the "Cooks in Concert" cooked in time to their music and throughout the rest of the park musicians played and the rest of us tempted the multitudinous throngs with our fresh food, our wine, our olive oils, our condiments and additives and, in the case of the bush food people, ourselves and our industry. There was no shortage of bush tucker people from all states and all regions, including a live crocodile on display in the Northern Territory tent!
Amongst all the discussion and disagreement about whether there is or is not a `genuine Australian cuisine', it was quite clear that the native food industry has already settled the question.
A cursory tour of the displays showed how pervasive genuine Australian ingredients have become in all aspects of the food industry - and the crowds recognised this as well. At the modest display mounted by Southern Vales Bushfoods, which featured samples of fresh muntries, bush tomatoes, lemon myrtle leaves and mountain pepper leaves, as well as small plants of all these species, growers' information and some processed products, there was a continual and genuine interest from would-be growers, would-be processors and would-be consumers as well as those who knew something of the industry and its potential.
The event is set to be repeated and, with a little more coordinated planning next time, the Australian Native food Industry, the Bushfood Industry or the Bush Tucker Industry (call it what you will) could occupy one of the places at the top table and run a major seminar to get our message across to the mainstream media and the master chefs even more comprehensively. Being part of such an expo is a lot of hard work and not cheap either - but all those from Southern Vales Bushfoods enjoyed themselves and I'll certainly be back for more next time.
South Coast Flora
146 Dignnam's Creek Rd,
Via Cobargo NSW 2550
Have a range of species suitable for temperate/cool climates, including:
Phone: 064 936 747
Extracts from 'The Bushfoods Handbook' - Vic Cherikoff
Notes: Acacia - John Mason
Bunyas and the whole farm plan - John King