“Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.”
~ Kent Nerburn
The picture at the top of the page is part of a stand of Bunya Pines along one of the fences at our farm. Each year the pines produce giant cones the size of a football or bigger, but the harvest varies from year to year. The last decent harvest we had was four years ago. Last year we had maybe six cones in total over the entire season, and the nuts inside were small and barely worth bothering about. Today I looked up and counted nearly sixty cones, and these were just the ones that I could see. 2013 is going to be a bumper crop. 🙂
It will still be a few months before they ripen and begin to fall, but already we are putting a management strategy in place. The trees provide a shady place for our cows, who like to use their dense lower limbs as shelter from sun and storms. But once the nuts start to fall they become a dangerous place to be. Being hit by a falling Bunya cone would not be dissimilar to being felled by a cannonball. So we’ll move the cattle to another paddock before the nuts are ready.
The Australian Aborigines used to have huge feasts around the Bunya season. Tribes would come from coastal, plains and mountain districts, put aside any differences, and spend time together harvesting and eating the rich nuts. The feasts were a time to build friendships, to trade and to organise marriages, alliances and ceremony.
I think this year I’ll plan a feast of my own for Bunya season. There are so many cones and some of them will be heavy and full of nuts. The nuts can be roasted, boiled, fried or sprouted and they taste like a floury sweet chestnut with a hint of pine-nut. Absolutely delicious. They even make amazing pesto!
There’s a lot of work in harvesting, breaking and dehusking the nuts, and even more work in preparing them for cooking. It seems the perfect time to invite a bunch of bunya-nut-loving friends to come help with the harvest, and to share in the bounty.
And anyway, I love a house full of hungry people. It gives me an excuse to cook!