Pages 2-9

Issue 19 - Pages 2-9

Dorrigo Pepper - 

Solanum Stipitata

Native to the Dorrigo Plateau area of northern New South Wales this native green leaf pepper has a sharp, hot and unique spicy flavour, complementing almost any dish and adding great distinction to recipes where pepper is a definitive ingredient. This unique flavour is derived from its high concentration of active ingredient polygodial and, together with the other fragrant and volatile compounds, produces a high quality aromatic pepper.

The taste is somewhat like the smell of freshly cut timber (if you can follow that!) and I have found it a delightful substitute for the relatively 'tasteless' conventional pepper.

Some FAQ's

Ten Most FAQs for the Bushfood Industry

1. What should I grow?

At this stage in the industryís growth, no one would be so bold as to tell you categorically what to grow - unless they guarantee to buy your harvest! Here are some pointers:

Look at the list of Ďbest betí species and see:

  • which are local to your area or are found in similar climatic/soil type areas

  • which is the species suit your location (sloping block, riparian areas, difficult access etc)

  • which species suit your resources (harvest, post harvest, marketing etc)

  • which species appeal to you?

  • which species have some track record for demand

Go beyond the Ďbest betí and go with your own inclination - we have literally thousands of great edible natives and no one can say which will become flavour of some future month. Be aware that you will be facing even greater education and marketing challenges if you choose a lesser known species - treat it as a challenge!. 

2. Where can I get the plants? 

This is difficult as there is no central database of people supplying bushfood plants. However, start with your local nursery (and if they donít carry bushfood plants - pressure them!) Other good sources: 

  • Society for Growing Australian Plants (Australian Plant Society in some states

  • Greening Australia 

  • Landcare nurseries 

The magazine carries a continuing list of nurseries supplying bushfoods and also has a database which is available to subscribers. 

3. Are some varieties better than others? 

Very few of our native food species have gone through the process of selection. Lemon myrtle, Finger Lime, Riberry, Quandong, Davidson plum and a few others are the exception to this. Thus, you will often find yourself purchasing an unknown factor. If possible (and this is often difficult), find a good plant and take cuttings or graft scion from it (refer to 6 below). If youíre on the net, enter the discussion group and find out if anyone has particularly good plants. You can also write to the magazine and have your enquiry published. If thatís not possible, try to get a good variety of plants from various sources, label them very carefully and wait to see which perform! I also ask the provenance of plants purchased from nurseries - but seldom get an answer! 

4. Is there a market for the produce? 

See (1 )  above. A market profile is beginning to emerge but it is, not surprisingly, to those species which are becoming available in commercial quantities. Because the bulk of growers are small scale, marketing and education activities are small and usually confined to the local area. I know of no one who had trouble selling their produce once they had introduced it to potential buyers (the usual provisos of quality control, presentation etc apply). If you are looking at serious, commercial quantities, I would really suggest you do your own marketing research and assure yourself that the species you are looking at: 

  • wonít be in oversupply in the future 

  • will maintain a reasonably unique status 

  • has the potential for incorporation into mainstream food production 

There is no one answer to this question - the greatest tool we have is our networking. 

5. What information is there on plant management? 

Cultivation is also a difficult area as many bushfoods havenít been in cultivation or have been so for only a short time. Notes are available for some species and many people adopt management practices already established for related species. 

6. Should I grow from seed, cuttings or grafted?

Obviously, selection from superior plants is the ideal way to go. However, with many of our species, there has been no selection. With each passing month, nurseries and private growers are expanding the list of selected species - once again, network! 

7. What harvest and post harvest machinery is available? 

Very little - adapt and be creative! 

8.    Are there any other people in my area growing bushfoods? 

I always suggest that people put a small article in their local paper asking this question - you may be amazed at the response you get! 

9. Where can I get more information? 

See the back of the Bushfood Starter Kit.

10.    What price are bushfoods getting?

This is also difficult as prices do go up and down. At present, there seems to be a gentle downwards trend. The best way to find market prices are:

  • get onto the discussion group and ask others
  • speak to distributors and find out what they're paying
  • check out this web site often!

  • In the Papers

    The Courier Mail, January 5, 2002

    'Bush Tucker'

    A general article with recipes for Macadamia and Davidson plum.

    Tempo (no date)

    Lemon myrtle as food and remedy.

    The Australian (Sept 2001)

    Wattle bears anti-cancer hopes - Acacia victoriae. Two US universities doing tests on this species as a cancer suppressant.

    Farmer Bulletin Aug 2001

    Market for Lemon myrtle - a far North  NSW coast group - Australian Bushfoods and Bush Products Co-op Ltd - is set to absorb large quantities of lemon myrtle oil for their Simply Native range of soaps, cleaners and aromatherapy products.

    In the Newsletters

    1. Southern Vales Bush Foods Inc

    (Nov 2001)

    Increasing demand for Pepper leaf and Lemon myrtle.

    An Indigenous growers' group is to be formed

    Forming strategic alliances with other food producer groups.