Growers Jodie and Michael Cameron bravely traded the city, and a hectic corporate life, for the freedom of Queensland’s Fraser Coast with the purchase of a working macadamia farm, complete with an onsite commercial kitchen. While Michael had grown up in the country, hailing from an organic wheat farm near Goondiwindi, Jodie was at first unsure about the move to farming. “When Michael first started talking about buying a macadamia farm, I was intrigued because I love the country but I wasn’t sure if it was for me” says Jodie. “Then I saw this farm had a commercial kitchen and it sealed the deal; suddenly I could see my future here because I could use it to create something of my own, in addition to being farmer.”
A few years on and the couple are now busily growing, harvesting and dehusking their nuts and then turning them into tasty, wholesome and gluten free macadamia products under the brand name Barenuts. It’s been a steep learning curve! “Both macadamia farming and the development of the Barenuts product have involved lots of trial and error, as we have had to learn everything from scratch” says Jodie.
With his country background Michael is kept busy with the farming side, which includes an orchard of 2,000 mature trees and a nursery of 5,000 seedlings, while Jodie spends much of her time in the kitchen, developing and creating all the Barenuts products by hand and experimenting with new recipes and flavours.
The brand has now attracted a loyal fan base, particularly among health-conscious foodies keen to know where their food is grown. Early in 2017 Jodie entered several Barenuts products in the prestigious Australian Food Awards with Barenuts Lemon Myrtle Macadamias taking out the Gold Medal with a perfect score. The judging panel awarded the product 100 out of 100, declaring it to have “a good crunch and richness, lemon myrtle well balanced and applied and well salted.” What a great result for a simple but delicious product!
For more information on Jodie & Michael or to buy Barenuts products, head to their website.