The macadamia is native to Australia and is regarded as its most successful commercialised bush food. There are commercially grown orchards primarily in South Africa, Australia, Kenya and the USA with smaller crops coming from Guatemala and Malawi.
The kernels are harvested in January and undergo a lengthy drying process over the course of several months in large stores at a temperature of around 40c. Once dried the shell is removed using a metal vice or hammer.
The crop has increased steadily year on year and has risen to over 150Kmt in 2014. This year has seen a huge increase in demand for in shell kernels from China. Growth has been unable to keep up with increasing demand as a newly planted orchard normally takes between 7-10 years to yield its first crop.
The kernels have the highest levels of monounsaturated fats of any known seed and high levels of omega-7 making it a desirable ingredient in many cosmetic products. The kernels can be eaten raw but often undergo further processes such as chocolate coating.
The macadamia trees require warm temperatures and good annual rainfall to yield a good crop. The biggest threats to annual production come from droughts and heavy frost.
Our Macadamia Nut Trader is Adam Johnston