Meet macadamia farmers Bob and Judy Howard, who run a 60-acre organic macadamia orchard in Newrybar, Northern NSW. Bob and Judy have been married for 28 years and farming macadamias together for over 10 years. "Any farming is always easier with two people, and it's especially great for bouncing ideas around and talking through issues," says Bob.
Bob and Judy use an integrated approach to farming which encourages biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem. They use organic matter to feed the trees, smother grass to prevent erosion, beneficial insects to control pests and disease and have also planted a rainforest on their property. A former geologist, Bob is also the brains behind an innovative new technology called ‘LIDAR mapping’ (remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analysing the light effect) which many Aussie growers are now using to help improve drainage management (manage water flow) and ultimately improve orchard productivity and profitability.
In 2006, the couple also led the way in the fight to save an endangered native butterfly (the Birdwing Butterfly) by planting Richmond Birdwing vine seeds in their orchard (the vines are necessary for the butterfly to lay its eggs on and are also the caterpillar’s only food source).
Bob and Judy strive to produce the highest quality macadamia nuts they can and they love working together in the beautiful environment of the macadamia orchard. Bob says his favourite way to eat macadamias is raw: "you can't beat the natural taste."