Australian Unpasteurized Almonds
By NATALIA VIGNOLA
In April 2013 I once again found myself in beautiful sun-drenched Australia. One of the purposes of this trip was to attend the wedding of some close friends, a beautiful affair held at the seaside; of course another was to visit our farmers, including organic unpasteurized almond grower John Maragozidis of Yunis Organic Almonds. In the relatively short time we've known him, John has quickly become part of the Rancho community as a committed organic farmer with an unbridled love of life and passion for quality food. Our visits with him are always interesting, informative and a whole lot of fun!
John offers a freshly cracked almond.
In addition to the forty acres he has been farming just north of Adelaide, John recently purchased another ninety-acre block in a little town called Waikerie, approximately 200 kilometres from Adelaide, on the great Murray River. Immediately upon purchasing the new block, John began the process of transitioning the trees to organic status, and by next harvest he expects to be fully certified. The difference in the almonds produced at Waikerie just in the last three years is incredible. According to John, birds and animals began to move back in shortly after he took over, and he enlisted the help of Gary Armstrong, a dedicated organic farmer who grew up in the region. Through constant care and attention, the orchard has become a haven for all kinds of life, most notably the organisms needed for healthy, happy trees. The product speaks for itself, and I was fortunate enough to be able to sample a few of these exquisite almonds; organic certification or not, these nuts are clearly the product of some serious nurturing.
John’s organic almond orchard.
How does he do it? John explains: "Our first priority is the health of the trees. To achieve this, we perform soil tests to make sure all trace elements and minerals required for healthy soil are present and balanced. We then administer a food source for microbial life and apply beneficial microbes and bacteria to the soil. It is the job of the soil microbes, bacteria and earthworms to break down the elements in the soil, making them balanced and available to the plant and also to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. The result is food that is mineral-balanced, mineral-rich and bursting with life-giving enzymes, food that is alive!”