Updated February 2024
Byron Bay is famous for many things – stunning beaches, surf culture, a community where anything goes – and for quite some time now, increasingly as a foodie destination and celebrity hangout. But did you know that Australia is the original home of macadamia nuts, and that many of these grow in the sub-tropical hinterland around Byron Bay?
If you’re a fan of Australia’s native nut and you’re in Byron Bay between 8 and 11am on a Thursday, why not take a look at the Byron Farmers’ Market and discover what the local producers have on offer for macadamia nut lovers.
As the first growers’ market in the region, the Byron Farmers’ Market has been going strong since 2002. Supported by a community committed to the green revolution years before it became fashionable, the local, seasonal produce proves the point that organic, ‘low kilometre’ food just tastes better.
Before you start to explore all the market has to offer, it’s best to fortify yourself with coffee and something sweet. Michelle Clarke at Bangalow Coffee has been involved with the farmers’ market since its inception, serving up her weekly-roasted, sweet and mellow coffee with a ready smile, while Letterbox Roasters, a boutique small-batch coffee roaster with a distinctive red logo, dispense a smooth full-bodied brew along with iced lattes and iced chai.
Other options can include a Black Sesame Brownie chunked full of macadamias from the Ohayo Japanese Brekky stall – or the ever-popular Pineapple, Macadamia and Coconut Cake from Louise Hackett’s stall, A Little Peace of Cake, all local ingredients and almost too pretty to eat. Pull up a chair at one of the communal tables and soak up the live music and laid-back vibes of this weekly community get-together, Byron-style.
Next up, head to Rainforest Foods. Here you’ll be able to stock up on fresh natural macadamia kernels or try either their roasted varieties such as Turmeric, Lemon Myrtle and Chilli or Garlic and Rosemary. There are also Honey Roasted Macadamias if you’re in a sweet mood, but do be sure to also grab a big jar of the Natural Macadamia Spread, a brilliant local – and healthy – alternative to peanut butter. “This spread’, says stall-holder John, ‘is the truly unique thing.’
Of course you’ll need bread for the spread, so order a baguette from Scratch Patisserie or a loaf of sourdough from the bubbly Sourdough Chick. At Gourmet Salad Hut you’ll find not only glorious big bags of salad mixes and bunches of herbs but jars of their own pesto made from bright green basil and local macadamias.
Finally, you must not deny yourself a visit to Spice Palace for their wide and exciting range of dips and dukkahs, spice blends and tapenades. All the products are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, with ingredients sourced locally where possible. The Pumpkin and Macadamia Dip and the Basil Pesto (with almonds and roast macadamias) are two more excuses for that bread you’ve picked up, and their Macadamia and Chilli Dukkah is the perfect final flourish to any salad.
With all your macadamia needs met, it’s time to check out what else this laidback, lovely town has to offer. But first things first – make sure you head on up to the lighthouse and enjoy the magnificent views of the Byron Bay hinterland, the natural habitat of Australia’s favourite nut.
The Byron Farmers’ Market is held every Thursday between 8 am and 11 am at Butler Reserve, Byron Bay.