Picture Gallery: A Year in the Orchard
Winter in north-west Tasmania is cool and usually wet. Frosts are frequent, and occasionally snow falls on the farm. The trees are bare of leaves, but are preparing for the next crop of nuts!
Winter is the time when hazelnuts flower. The male catkins release pollen which is blown by the wind on to the tiny, red flowers. If germination occurs, a nut forms.
Spring is a time of great activity in the orchard. As the days lengthen, the grass begins to grow furiously. Mowing becomes a weekly necessity. Sometimes we also have sheep to help with grass control. The trees also grow rapidly: each branch can add up to 30 cm in length during these few months. The weather continues to be cool and showery, with snow often settling on Mount Roland. A variety of insects and birds are also busy in the orchard!
Summer is often - but not always! - dry in north-west Tasmania. The trees are in full leaf, and are laden with growing nuts. We ensure the trees have plenty of water at this time via the drip irrigation system throughout the orchards.
For the first part of autumn the nuts, now at harvest size, dry out and prepare to fall from the trees. In our orchard the nuts begin to fall in about mid-March. We prefer to harvest by hand, without the aid of machines, so it takes us 2-3 weeks to collect all of the nuts.