Our orchard is located beside Canungra Creek in the beautiful Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland. This area of the Gold Coast hinterland is rapidly gaining a deserved reputation for production of quality food. Keep an eye out for Eat Local Week which is a council organised series of events that showcases the food produced in the area. It is usually held in late June each year.
We have approximately 1.5 ha of land under cultivation in two sites with about 200 trees in total. There are six different finger lime varieties of varied colours and flavour. Our planting includes two hybrid varieties which were initially developed by the CSIRO. Our first trees were planted in 2011with the first commercial crop produced in 2016.
From the beginning our approach was to embrace the principles of organic production. In 2014 we applied for organic certification with NASAA and achieved full certification 18 months later. In 2021 we made the difficult decision to cease our certification for cost reasons. However we have maintained the same organic approach in the orchard management.
When we acquired the property in 2009 we had few firm plans. It had no development other than some old cattle yards and had been used mainly for grazing cattle. Initially it was home to our two horses but soon our minds turned to what could be done productively with the land.
After reading an article in the newspaper about finger lime production a plan began to emerge. We felt it was a great combination of our interests which include planting and growing trees along with food and flavours in the kitchen. The fact that they are native to this area gave our thoughts an added boost. In hindsight there are times we feel we have seriously underestimated the work that was to follow. There is a new found understanding of the dedication that all primary producers bring to their industry. In 2013 we built a house and since then we have lived on the property full time. It is an environment that we both value immensely.
The setting is one of natural bush and abundant wildlife. We have identified over 60 bird species some of which we see daily while others visit at certain times of the year. The older gum trees provide important nesting sites which are used by families that we now recognise and welcome back each year. Sulphur crest cockatoos, magpies, dollar birds, blue faced honey eaters nest in the gum trees while fairy wrens and several species of finches make use of our finger lime tees. The thorny branches provide a safe home for them. There is a flourishing population of red necked wallabies. The creek is home to platypus, turtles, fish and provides a permanent source of water for the local wildlife.