Hello again followers! Courtney and Zach here!
Today we visited Nerada Tea, Pacific Coast Bananas, and Mungalli Creek Biodynamic Dairy.
Nerada Tea has 1,000 acres in two plantations total. They harvest 100 tons of green leaf off of their field that contains 3.2 million bushes. The silver leaf (white tea) must be hand picked, but the green leaves are picked by a harvester on a track. The tea grown on the plantation is rain reliant and any other water used is placed into settling ponds so they can reduce any waste they might have. Nerada Tea not only has delicious teas and scones, but they are also acting to be more sustainable. They compost their tea waste and put that back into their fields to help close their loop and reduce waste. Their tea bags are also compostable, and they plan to install a 15 kilowatt solar system in the future as well. Towards the end of our time here, some members of the group were even lucky enough to spot a few tree kangaroos nibbling on some leaves in the canopy of the nearby trees!
The yummy tea and scones at Nerada Tea.
Tea fields at Nerada Tea.
Pacific Coast Bananas created and are certified as ecoganic. Ecoganic is a measurable farming system that monitors and repairs ecosystems including natural diversity. They focus on soil and environmental health, and they don’t use any herbicides or insecticides. It is crucial to allow natural processes to occur and value quality over quantity. Biodiversity in and on top of the soil is extremely important. A healthy soil retains and manages water better meaning lower costs for irrigation and a healthier ecosystem. Insects are also crucial to the system as they can help to indicate the overall health of the ecosystem. These bananas are produced slower than the average banana, but a banana tree in this ecoganic environment can last much longer than one farmed using conventional methods. They also mark each ecoganic banana by dipping the bottoms of the banana in red wax. Even the red wax is biodegradable and decomposes at the same rate as leaf litter. They also have Taste Before Waste, a wonderful company founded by owners Frank and Dianne’s daughter, Alana, that provides seconds fruit fresh from the farm straight to people’s doors. You can check out their websites here. The passion of banana farmers and owners Frank and Dianne was really amazing to see over lunch. They also provided some really tasty banana smoothies!
Our group with Frank and Dianne, the owners of Pacific Coast Bananas.
Owner Frank teaching Braedon Halle how to dip the bananas into the signature red wax.
Lastly, we visited Mungalli Creek Biodynamic Dairy. Mungalli Creek focuses on regenerating the soil and the humus in it. Before taking a tour of the farm, our group was presented with a very generous cheese and yogurt tasting. The cheeses included marinated feta, ricotta, and havarti. They also provided a lactose free Greek yogurt. After the cheese tasting, we learned more about biodynamic farming and what it can do for soil health. For the last 30 years they have practiced biodynamic methods within the farm, enriching the soil and creating a wonderful and delicious product. They focus on soil, land, and animal health that also helps the consumer be healthy as well. It’s important to produce food as naturally as possible, and that’s one of the goals for biodynamic farming. Mungalli Creek has also been recognized for the quality of their products with over 140 medals, and within the Atherton Tablelands, they make sure to support 8 fellow family farms. Their business encourages sustainable practices within the community ensuring healthy soil and economic gain for the local region.
Our group in front of Mungalli Creek Biodynamic Dairy.