Coaldale Walnuts – Sweeter Than You’d Think
Coaldale Walnuts was established in 1997 on the outskirts of Richmond village, by Phil and Jane Denning. They swapped the busy Sydney lifestyle for the quiet, rural life of Tasmania, and in 1995 they planted their first walnut trees. Nowadays they are the growers of an award-winning, often sold-out product and highly active members of the Coal River Valley community.
Quality Growth & Harvesting
Coaldale grow both Chandler and Franquette varieties. Like wine, the cool climate produces a superior flavour. Nuts are not forced to grow quickly from the warm weather like in the northern states. Coaldale also practice sustainable agricultural techniques, using organic fertilisers which enhance the already excellent soil. Sheep do the lawn mowing, while also adding their own manure to further enrichen the soil.
The harvesting involves as gradual process only collecting the nuts as quickly as possible after they have fallen off the trees. Walnuts have a high oil content – 30–50%. Harvesting and processing walnuts while they are fresh, retains their sweetness. Old walnuts can become bitter and less enjoyable to consume. If you’re one of the many people who dislike the bitter taste of common supermarket walnuts, they’ll change your perceptions about this highly misunderstood and misrepresented product.
They are collected by hand or by a former macadamia hut harvester, which sweeps the ground and collects the walnuts. The processing stage involves the removal of any debris, washing and drying. They are then stored in a cool storage facility. Whole nuts are sent straight to local markets where they can be enjoyed while fresh.
High Demand & Accolades
Coaldale used to export to Sydney and Adelaide, however these states are now missing out. Demand from locals is so high that the fresh walnuts and kernals are only sold locally. Coaldale are hoping to increase output of walnut kernals with a new cracking machine, which they expect will be able to process five tonnes during a year.
And it can’t come quick enough, Coaldale Walnuts have fans Australia-wide! In 2018 they won medals in seven categories, which is pretty impressive considering they only entered in six. These include gold medals for pickled walnuts, walnut kernel and ‘continuing excellence’ at the Australian Food Awards.
Most walnuts are harvested in April and May and can be purchased as a whole nut in their shells, walnut kernals or as pickled walnuts.
Walnuts used for pickling are harvested in late December. It’s best to harvest these while their green and before the shell forms. The walnuts are then pickled for six weeks in a cider vinegar, also produced in the Coal River Valley by Lost Pippin.
These are available in 315gm jars, and 2 litre jars for wholesale purchase. They are great served with crackers or part of a cheese platter.
Walnut Kernals come cracked out of their shells and are ready for eating or cooking. As these are fresh, come in airtight packaging and are harvested at the right time, they have a beautiful sweet taste which makes them great for eating by themselves as a healthy snack. Coaldale sell walnut kernals in heat-sealed airtight bags to avoid the bitter taste which occurs when the oils oxidise. This heat-sealed packaging will retain the freshness, taste and health benefits for up to twelve months.
Walnut kernals are also commonly used to add flavour in cooking, particularly in salads and cakes.
Visit Coaldale Walnuts
Open hours and product availability vary throughout the year – unless you are already visiting the area, we recommend checking the Coaldale website before visiting.
However, we definitely recommend adding this to your list. It’s easy to assume that a trip to Richmond is all about the historic bridge and buildings, and maybe a vineyard or two. But really, the area is fantastic for farming and there are many locals producing world-class products which outshine anything found in supermarkets. They are produced in beautiful, boutique locations operated by welcoming and interesting people. It’s well worth a look!
Address: 321 Prossers Road, Richmond