If you are taking a drive through the northern rivers these holidays, you will pass quite a few macadamia trees, but you may not have noticed the pecans; there is a thriving pecan industry in our region also. They are grown from the NSW mid north coast right up into Queensland, with the nation’s largest pecan farm situated in Moree.
There are about 30 farms in the northern rivers (half the nation’s farms) employing about 100 people. We are the home of the national industry body.
At the moment the nut industry globally is doing well. Demand for nuts is growing as more people discover their health benefits – they suit people on vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or low-carb diets.
Pecans are packed with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals beneficial to health, similar to fruit and vegetables.
If you’re eating salads during the summer, you can top them with a handful of freshly roasted local pecans – they go well with chicken or turkey salads along with baby spinach, cherry tomato, and fresh pear.
Watermelon, feta, and pecans is also a great combination – you can use them together for starters or in salads. You could try cutting watermelon shapes with a cookie cutter, then topping with feta cheese and pecans for a cool summer starter.
About 25 per cent of locally grown pecans are processed right here in the northern rivers. Barefoot Farms at Eltham (Matt and Ash from the Eltham Valley Pantry and Café) sell a number of products like dark-chocolate-and-maple-flavoured pecans at their store and cafe, and Nimbin Valley Pecans make a delicious pecan spread from locally roasted pecans – you can get their pecan products at markets and other local outlets.
More info: pecangrowers.org.au.