Monday, July 19, 2010

Club visit to Byron Bay area

Garden club visit to Byron Bay:

We had a great weekend away with about 20 people from our garden club -Tamborine Sustainable Gardeners Society.

The start was at the Mullimimby Community Garden where we were shown around by Jeanette. The community garden is relatively new and is a place where locals can grow food, learn from others about gardening, social network and participate in developing a sense of community. Right beside there was a local market which was also excellent, with lots of stalls of local produce, organic type products, foods etc. This small town is well placed for a sustainable future with good soil, good rainfall and climate.

Next off was a visit to Forbidden Fruits nursery - not too far away but we managed to get lost for awhile and ended up going an extra 30km or so. That nursery is well recommended for unusual and uncommon food trees. We purchased a Wampi, Cherry of the Rio Grande, Quince, Thornless blackberry, Soursop, Star Apple, Natal Plum and Ceylon Hill Gooseberry. Prices were quite reasonable as well in my opinion. From there we all headed off to Byron Bay to SeedSavers. There Michel spoke about his garden and a little about the history of SeedSavers. We looked around his garden and picked up a few tips but overall it was a little disappointing to me. The cost was $15 each and I felt the value just wasn't there.
Overnight was at Lennox heads – Lake Ainsworth Caravan park, where we had a block booking of cabins. Most of us gathered in one cabin for predinner drinks and nibblies before walking down to the local pub for a meal. It was a night filled with much hilarity and noise!
The next day was back to Byron Bay to a Lemon Myrtle factory where soaps etc are made from an extract of Backhousia citriodora. Whilst the scent is quite pleasant I needed to leave the factory and stand outside as I started to develop hayfever. Anne purchased some soap and other items for our use. The final stop was back near Mullimimby (got lost again) at a Coffee Plantation called Green Cauldron. This was also excellent as the young farm manager (Brad) showed us around and gave a really informative description of the process of preparing coffee beans. Club members waxed lyrical about the coffee he made for us at the end of the tour.
Most of us then went back to Mullimimby for lunch at the Poinciana Cafe - I recommend this place for a meal- before heading back home to Brisbane.
Northern NSW is a lovely part of Australia - fertile soils, mild climate and good rainfall. The scenery and bush is also most pleasing to the eye. Some of the roads we went on had a canopy of trees. We saw an echnida but not much else of our native fauna. Lennox Heads beach is also worth a visit.

Here's 2 photos - one of sunrise on Lennox Heads beach and the other of the harvester for the coffee beans (worth $200,000)

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