Next thing I have to try is Anthony’s idea of mixing his Macadamia Nut Spread with water and a pinch of salt and drizzling it over cauliflower before roasting. ‘It’s fantastic!’ he tells me, although what I’ve done instead is make a batch of biscuits utilising both the maca spread and the whole natural maca kernels. They’re fantastic too!
Rainforest Foods has been Anthony Hotson’s business for nearly 30 years. Based at Alstonville, the farm is, he tells me, ‘one of the very few value-adding farms where the macadamia nuts are actually from our farm, rather than grower-pooled with other farms.’ He says he likes it that way as ‘we can rely on the quality of our farming and the soil we have been growing and improving for almost 30 years now.’
Macadamias aren’t the only thing his farm produces. Part of the property includes a sub-tropical rainforest – lovingly restored and extended by Anthony – yielding Davidson’s plums, lemon and anise myrtle, riberries, native limes and other native foods. The Davidson’s Plum Jam is, Anthony tells me, a ‘crowd favourite’, as too are the macadamia nut spreads, especially the roasted macadamia nut spread.
These value-added products, which include macadamia nut oil and one infused with lemon myrtle (‘fantastic oil for cooking’, he says, ‘with its healthy fat profile and high smoke point’) are what have made the farmers’ markets, of which Rainforest Foods has been a part for 20 years, so valuable to the business.
It is indeed the enthusiasm, love and support of the customers that make it all worthwhile to Anthony, exonerating ‘a lot of relentless, repetitive tasks’ and ‘the highs and lows of climate and finance. That is why the farmers’ markets are so important to farmers – both economically and emotionally’, he says.
There’s a recipe for the macadamia nut biscuits on the website.
Rainforest Foods are at New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday 8–11am and Mullumbimby Farmers Market every Friday 7–11am.