Greg Jones returned to his farming roots in 2004 after a 20 year career in IT, moving to Alstonville in the NSW Northern Rivers to grow macadamias.
Greg started out in macadamia farming by working on his parents’ orchard, before buying a nearby block for his own orchard. The property had previously been used for raising beef and dairy cattle, so he had a huge task ahead of him as he removed the fencing and infrastructure that had accumulated over the previous 50-100 years of farming. He also battled the “usual beasts” that plague such properties in this area: camphor laurel, lantana and wild tobacco. After much hard work, his first fifty acre paddock went from a “barren wasteland” to a flourishing orchard, allowing him to buy a second property in 2017.
Greg’s most enjoyable part of growing macadamias is the sense of satisfaction he gets from looking back at these years of labour and seeing all his hard work come to fruition. “When you plant a seedling it just doesn't stay like that, it turns into a full sized tree. It’s very rewarding to see each tree grow and become part of a productive orchard,” he says. It’s all very different to his work in IT, Greg reflects, “with farming, you’re growing something for the future”.
Greg has injected this love of watching things grow into the rejuvenation of a macadamia nursery in collaboration with partners on his new property. Macmandu Nursery grows quality macadamia seedlings to help others get their macadamia orchards off to a flying start.
But Greg thinks that perhaps his favourite part of his new career is that when you grow macadamias you get to feast on your own delicious crop! Greg enjoys his macadamias simply roasted and salted, with a cool drink if possible.