Awards: NSW organic bush food company wins RAS Green Award
Lorne, mid-north NSW coast Australian native bush foods grower and supplier Barbushco was awarded the 2013 Sydney Royal Easter Show Green Award. The annual award is presented for “public acknowledgment and rewarding of the efforts made by individuals or an organisation to promote environmental awareness and sustainability.”
Barbushco Pty Ltd was founded by Bruce and Barbara Barlin in 1996 when the bottom had dropped out of the beef cattle industry. It was decided to plant Australian native trees for the bush food industry and Barbushco now has over 26,000 Australian native trees. Organic practices were followed on the farm, and in 2001 the Barlins became members of Organic Growers of Australia and have been Certified A Grade Organic since 2004, with the farm’s cattle also certified organic. “We were surprised to win the RAS (Royal Agricultural Society NSW) Green Award and it’s good recognition of what we have established and achieved,” says Barbara Barlin. “The RAS organisers said 720 entries were eligible.” It was Barbushco’s 14th year at the show.
While bush foods grow all over Australia in different climate zones, the Barlins’ philosophy is to only grow plants that are native to their own area of the NSW north coast. They started by planting lemon myrtle and aniseed myrtle trees, then Dorrigo peppers, cinnamon myrtles, lemon scented tea trees, Davidson plums, rosellas, riberries and brush cherries. From these are produced Barbushco spices, jams, sauces, essential oils, bush flavoured pastas, teas and Bush Dukkah (a blend of nuts, seeds and bush spices).
Certified organic ranges come in spices, essential oils and teas, while helping product sales are the unique tastes and flavours of Australian native bush foods, with many chefs now using the foods.
Ms Barlin says the most popular bush foods sold or growing in popularity are lemon myrtle, a very popular spice; dukkah, which is served as an appetiser/entree and also goes well on schnitzels; Dorrigo pepper, a leaf pepper than can have a hot, black pepper flavour and is popular for meats and baking; and aniseed myrtle, which is used by Asian chefs and has a tarragon-like flavour that also makes it popular in French cooking.
Retail sales go to specialty stores, delis and tourist stores. “Sales are growing by volume and its well up over the last 12 months,” Ms Barlin says. “We are doing more wholesale, supply a lot more manufacturers in bulk and export to several companies in the US, including tea companies, and in Japan for essential oils.”