Macadamia is an evergreen genus that grows 2–12 m (7–40 ft) tall. The flowers are produced in a long, slender, simple raceme 50–300 mm (2–10 in) long, the individual flowers 10–15 mm (0.4–0.6 in) long, white to pink or purple, with four tepals. The fruit is a hard, woody, globose follicle with a pointed apex, containing one or two seeds.
Macadamia Annual Cycle
The Big Island of Hawaii is home to MacFarms Macadamia Orchard. The Kapua Ranch Orchard has over 250,000 trees spread over 4,000 acres and is one of the largest macadamia orchards in the world. Our nuts are hand-picked and cracked fresh on site to bring you the most premium macadamias in the world, fresh from Hawaii.
The Macadamia tree is a fast growing, regular-shaped, medium sized tree with mature trees growing to a height of between 39ft (12m) and 50ft (15m). They possess shiny heavy, dark green foliage. and produce delicate sprays (racemes) of long scented white or pink flowers. From these flowers, clusters of nutlets grow which eventually develop into nuts. Trees can start bearing nuts in its 5th year after planting, and full production is reached in 12-15 years. Some trees at the Kapua Orchard are approximately 60 years old.
In Hawaii, mature macadamia nuts typically fall to the ground for around 8-9 months of the year from July through to March. At MacFarms, our nuts are generally harvested by hand.
The nuts are protected by a hard woody shell which is covered by a green-brown fibrous husk. Post-harvest, the husk is removed to reveal the hard inner shell which is then inspected to remove any obvious defects. The husk material is recycled as organic mulch.
Once de-husking has been completed, the “nut in shell” (NIS) is transferred into drying silos. At time of harvest, nuts can have a moisture content of up to 30%. The drying stage in processing macadamias is a critical step to ensure product quality is maintained. Over the drying period which can be up to 3 weeks, moisture content is progressively reduced to around 1.5% with the kernel shrinking away from the shell. This allows the shell to be cracked without damaging the kernel inside.
After drying, the nuts are mechanically cracked with the shell separated from the kernel using a combination of size graders, air separators and electronic sorters. The macadamia kernel is then passed through to the next stage for sorting.
Kernel is first sorted leveraging state of the art electronic colour sorters. Streams of macadamias pass through these sorters checking each kernel piece to identify defect nuts. Defect nuts are removed from the good kernel during this process by a small blast of compressed air.
The kernel is graded into different sizes (or styles) by using screens and delivered to a secondary sorting area where it is inspected manually allowing removal of any further defect kernel not previously captured up stream.
At MacFarms, product is packed in vacuum sealed, nitrogen flushed foil pouches within a corrugate case to safeguard the freshness of the kernel. Prior to packaging, all kernel passes through our pasteurisation process which has been independently validated to provide a >5.80 log destruction of salmonella.
The Walter Hill Macadamia Tree which was planted in the Brisbane Botanical Gardens in 1858.