Forty years ago Innot Hot Springs farmer Bill Godden planted one of the few pecan nut orchards in the Far North.
Each winter, the nuts are harvested and sold mostly through word-of-mouth and local markets, providing top-quality produce for those who are lucky enough to be in the know.
I visited Bill at his property recently and found not only a first-class product, but also a true character of the Australian bush.
To tell you the truth, up until about a week ago, I didn’t know much about pecan nuts. Sure, I had heard of them – even used them from time to time – but they were always just something I’d bought off the supermarket shelf, with no idea of where they came from.
I just assumed they were something I couldn’t source locally . . .
Homegrown basil pesto
Once you’ve tasted the flavour of homegrown basil pesto, you’ll never buy the bland, mass-produced supermarket stuff again.
Sweet basil is one of the few Mediterranean-style herbs that grow well in the tropics and using it to make traditional Italian pesto is a fantastic way to enjoy its spicy flavour.
Basil is one herb you just have to grow in your garden.
In Northern Australia, very few European herbs can be grown in the ground. Most only just manage to survive in a pot through the cooler months.
Basil is an exception.
It grows vigorously and as long as you can keep the grasshoppers and grubs away from it, bountiful crops are pretty much guaranteed . . .
Mandarin and chicken salad
North Queenslanders love their mandarins and this delicious citrus fruit is one of the most popular backyard trees grown up this way. While they are usually just peeled and eaten as a snack, adding them to an Asian-style salad is a great way to bring some zing to your dinner table . . .
Bird’s-eye chillies grow like weeds in Far North Queensland. You find them springing up everywhere. In gardens, banana paddocks and along the edges of the rainforest. Most people have no use for them, believing they are way too hot to be enjoyable to eat. It’s a shame because with little effort, they can become a very handy ingredient . . .