Wandiful Produce is a small certified-biodynamic farm that wants you to get better acquainted with chestnuts. It’s located in verdant Wandiligong Valley, and primarily harvests chestnuts and hazelnuts, but farmers Megan Hughes and Geoff Boadle also cultivate fruit (persimmons, feijoas, plums, apricots, apples, pears and citrus), pasture-raise 48 chooks and tend to a market garden.
Hughes bought the property from her uncle in 2013. Her grandparents had planted out chestnut and hazelnut seedlings back in the 1950s. When Hughes took over the farm, she realised she needed to find a way to foster knowledge and love of this starchy fruit (not an oily nut) in Australian kitchens.
In France, chestnut season is a highly anticipated and celebrated affair. Every menu of every cafe and restaurant will feature fresh chestnuts during harvest, while street vendors peddle chestnut crepes and home cooks stuff roast chickens with their traditional chestnut filling.
Bringing some of that European pride back to the north-east, Hughes opened a farm gate and cafe on the 20-acre farm. You can pick your own chestnuts from the orchard from mid-March to early-May; and enjoy light lunches, cakes and Mt Beauty-roasted Honeybird coffee in the rustic cafe.
There’s a larder of fresh produce from the garden, along with pickles and preserves. And of course, many iterations on the chestnut, including flour and jam. The farm also runs workshops in edible weed foraging and hosts community food swaps.
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