AgWe ® Report

Achacha Plantation

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Giru or Mount Surround, Queensland

“We are developing biologically active soil rather than simply growing the trees; that way the trees can access the nutrients they want when they want them.”Helen (Achacha)   Helen and Bruce, along with a group of friends, are the co-owners of Australia’s (and the world’s) largest Achacha Plantation located in Burdekin, North Queensland, midway between Townsville and Ayr.  After returning from living in South America for five years they were convinced to start an Achacha plantation and they sourced their first seeds from the Amazon Basin. With no farming experience, they decided that it made more sense to use organic methods rather than adding chemicals to the soil, trees and fruit. Helen became passionately involved in biodynamic farming and with the help of a network of like-minded people they started to use and make biodynamic inputs on site. The transition took a few years, but the trees benefited from the regime change, as did birds, insects and butterflies which are now abundant. Biodynamic barrel compost is applied monthly over winter to boost diversity and feed the soil. The Achacha trees are hermaphroditic, so bees are not needed to pollinate the flowers. However bees love the nectar, and with the assistance of tens of hives and a local apiarist, they produce about a tonne of highly sought-after honey during the flowering period. The main use of the Achacha is for the white pulp, but people are encouraged to also use the skin to make a refreshing drink (the recipe is on the website). You can rest assured that either way you have no synthetic chemicals entering your body.  Achachas are delicious! Taste experts have described them as ‘sweet, tangy, refreshing – like a sorbet! And as they are low in sugar, they are popular with diabetics. If you are looking for another fruit for your fruit bowl or want to add something healthy to your children’s lunchboxes, think Achacha! You can purchase them from good fruit shops across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne during the January-April season. If travelling in north Queensland, call Bruce or Helen to arrange a plantation visit. And if you find them overseas, there’s a good chance they have come from this plantation in north Queensland.

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