Hard work bearing fruit for Hinterland Feijoas
A QUIRKY little fruit grown west of Eumundi might be the best piece of produce in Queensland.
Hinterland Feijoas have been announced as a finalist in the delicious. Produce Awards, a competition highlighting the top primary producers in Australia.
The producers from Belli Park have a number of business awards under their belt, but this is the first time they've been nominated for the delicious. awards.
"We're super excited," Hinterland Feijoas owner Sally Hookey said.
"When you're farming and you have that recognition it's wonderful. Makes you feel good about going out there in the rain.
"We're very humbled by this sort of award, being a national thing. Very exciting."
Ms Hookey said the awards judge on taste as well as ethical practices within farming businesses.
"It's about the produce alone, the quality of the taste of a food," Ms Hookey said.
"It's about the actual taste of the produce, and the way it's grown, it's a lot about sustainability."
Ms Hookey said the publicity from being a finalist will help build the reputation of a typically unknown fruit.
"When you grow a new fruit like we did, you get that constant education of 'what is a feijoa?', so the more times it's out there, the better it is," Ms Hookey said.
"If they're a fruit you grow up with, you really miss it because there's nothing like it.
"That is why we grow them, I grew up with them.
"It's really complex, it's very sweet in the middle, a bit like a strawberry, and then it's more like a pear or quince around the edge.
"It's quite complex and tangier. It's like two fruits in one.
"They can be sweet or savoury - it's a South American fruit, used in salsas, with meat, it cooks with pork.
"Really good that way. It's a fresh fruit as well. You can make pretty much everything sweet - cakes, ice-cream, jams, anything with it. It's super versatile."
Fellow Sunshine Coast producers Cooloola Berries, from Wolvi, are also finalists in the awards, with their strawberries up for assessing.
Top chefs, restaurateurs and experts from prestigious Queensland eateries judged the produce last week, with winners announced in the first week of April.
Ms Hookey said she's delighted to know her feijoas could be tasted by people who've never eaten one before.
"It's really exciting," Ms Hookey said.
"Chefs love good food. I couldn't think of a better audience."
By the way, feijoa is pronounced fee-JO-a, with the 'j' sound like the 'g' in lingerie.