Tasmania’s walnut production has doubled since last year and the crop is now gaining international recognition for quality.
At Swansea on the state’s east coast, walnut farm manager Rodney Jones says the drought in previous years has ravaged the crop, but ideal growing conditions this season have produced a bumper harvest.
“It’s really good, we’ve been here for a few years now and it’s been a hard slog to get to this point,” he said.
“Every year from now on we should start to increase so its pretty exciting for me and the staff here.”
Good rainfall has improved the quality of the nuts and wind machines have been set up at the Swansea walnut farm to eliminate the threat of frost.
John Hosken from Walnuts Australia says orders are pouring in from around the world.
“We’ve doubled the tonnage this year to around 800 tonnes up from 400 last year and we’ll continue to grow that tonnage over the next couple of years,” he said.
“It’s very encouraging, the demand for our product is high, the cool climate growing gives us softer shells so its easier to crack and our colour, we produce a lot of extra light kernel which is in high demand through the main markets in Europe and the Middle East.
Local walnuts will soon be making their way to countries including Spain, Italy and China.
The industry is now worth about $4 million to the state.