B U S I N E S S F E A T U R E
Jane and Phil Dening are retired professionals, having made the big tree-change (or should I say orchard-change) from Sydney to Tasmania in 1986. By 1997 they had purchase their property and planted 1500 walnut trees, creating a stunning orchard on the banks of the Coal River. They grow two varieties of walnuts, and both are big, sweet and incredibly more-ish. Along with an occasional farm helper, Jane and Phil shell and value add to their walnuts onsite, which is a huge amount of work and a real credit to them.
We went along to Coaldale's annual open weekend, mid-way through autumn just gone. It was a stunning day, and we took our time wandering up and down the rows. When the nuts are ripe, the green husk around the hard shell starts to dry out, become brown and the nuts start to fall from the trees. The Denings have a machine for picking up the nuts for the main harvest, but once they are done, they open the gates for the great-unwashed to pick up the rest from the ground, and the last few from the trees. We had a lovely time.
F I E L D N O T E S
From Coaldale Walnuts you can buy whole walnuts, walnut kernels and pickled walnuts online here.
Jane, Phil and the occasional farm-hand shell, value-add and package all the nuts onsite.
At Coaldale all orchard waste is recycled to create compost for later use, including compost tea which is irrigated onto the orchard. How great is that!?
The orchard is open for one weekend a year for a pick-you-own experience in mid-autumn, right after their main harvest. It's a great day out. Bring your own bags or baskets, or even a picnic to have by the river. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for their next open day.
Apart from buying online you can find Phil and Jane at the Farm Gate Market most weekends.
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