To the Plains of South Australia
By SUE VIGNOLA
To say that John Maragozidis of Goanna Produce is enthusiastic about growing organic almonds is an understatement! Natalia and I are paying a visit to John’s almond orchard in Gawler River, South Australia, just after the harvest in mid-April and during Australia’s autumn season. A short train ride north from Adelaide takes us through rolling hills not far from the major wine-growing region of the Barossa Valley. John meets us at the train, and our visit begins at the homestead where we are warmly received by John’s family.
John Maragozidis, grower of our organic unpasteurized almonds, shows Sue the living soil that nourishes his precious trees.
Emigrants from Greece, John’s parents brought their farming experience to the Adelaide Plains of South Australia. With its Mediterranean-like climate, the area is perfect for growing almonds. While his parents farmed conventionally, John began to learn of the benefits of oganic growing practices and, after purchasing his own forty-acre farm, he brought it to full certified oganic status in 2006.
Barossa Valley, Australia.
As John proudly escorts us around his almond orchard, we are struck by his infectious enthusiasm for the land and everything growing, as well as the creatures living there. Frequently bending to scoop up dirt, John excitedly points out that the soil’s healthy composition is due to the earthworms which appeared in droves a few seasons ago after the switch to organic farming. The orchard floor has been transformed back into a living oganism, and the results of such healthy trees are evident in the incredible almonds they produce.
An almond blossom.
With forty acres under organic production and another ninety currently in conversion, Goanna Produce is working to reduce the impact chemical farming has on the planet. We thoroughly enjoy our visit to this beautiful orchard, and Rancho Vignola is proud to support farmers like John Maragozidis. To not only be committed to organic principles, but to also truly love producing delicious and nutritious almonds in their natural state is indeed something to be proud of.
Sue samples freshly harvested almonds, still in the shell!
Sue tries out a traditional Aboriginal travel technique during a visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the heart of the Australian outback.
Mother and daughter on an orchard visit in the beautiful Australian countryside.