Yesterday on the way to Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach we passed a handlettered sign that read “macadamia orchard, 3.4 kms.” We didn’t have time then, but I couldn’t resist, so today we made our way back up the windy gravel road to the Cathedral Cove Macademia orchard.
We got a personal informal tour of the orchard from Lisa, who lives with her partner and their two children right on the property. I knew very little about macadamia nuts before; when we left the orchard an hour later, I had a great appreciation for these tasty nuts.
- These nuts, which grow on trees, can’t be grown any farther south than the Coromandel. They are native to Australia.
- They can be all different textures even if they’re good
- They have to be dried out to be shelf-stable, but fresh they taste a bit like coconut
- Macadamia flowers are pollinated by bees
- Macadamias are most suceptible to trouble in the blossom stage, when strong winds can damage the flowers and thus the harvest.
- Macadamia oil has a high smoke point and is liquid at room temperature.
The kids had a blast picking a few nuts and cracking them using a couple different kinds of nutcrackers. When I asked Charlotte later what she thought, she said she loved cracking them open and had probably eaten “about twenty fresh ones.”