Mountain yuzu is one of my favourite quirky citrus suppliers. Located on the foothills of the Australian Alps in North East Victoria their 20-acre property is the perfect location for growing interesting and wonderful Citrus. With deep rich volcanic soils, hot dry summers and cold wet winters, this pristine environment is similar to the mountain areas on the island of Shikoku in Japan where yuzu is mainly grown.
Jane from Mountain Yuzu said “Growing our fruit in the cool climate Alpine valleys of North East Victoria, we have far fewer problems with pests and diseases that can impact citrus grown in some of the more warmer and humid citrus growing regions around Australia.”
Located on the foothills of the Australian Alps in North East Victoria their 20-acre property is the perfect location for growing interesting and wonderful Citrus.
Mountain Yuzu first planted 20 trees in 2012 and have now grown to over 1,800 trees from 1 to 6 years of age. In 2014 they picked their first few Yuzu fruits and in 2016 they had their first commercial harvest. The last three years have been challenging with issues with canopy and irrigation management which has resulted in smaller than expected crop volumes however they are now on top of this and expect to be back into full scale production in 2022.
Although Yuzu is their passion, Mountain Yuzu also have small plantings of the speciality Italian culinary citrus Bergamot and Chinotto which I absolutely love! These citrus are hard to find, and sell out fast, so I always keep in touch with Jane to find out when the harvest is coming up! Look out for some great recipes soon on Growkery.
I caught up with Jane to ask her a few questions about Yuzu.
What do you love so much about Yuzu and what led you to farming it in Victoria?
We moved to NE Victoria in 1986 and purchased a property that had chestnut trees and we became very involved in the chestnut industry. In 2001 we started exporting chestnuts to Japan and have exported frozen peeled chestnuts to Japan almost every year since. This is where we first became aware of yuzu. In 2010 a disease in our chestnuts resulted in the full destruction of our 2,000 tree orchard. It was devastating and we did not have the heart to start again from scratch with chestnuts so looked for something else we could grow. Yuzu was a standout option. The thing we love about yuzu is it’s aroma, it just smells and tastes delicious. The other thing is just how versatile it is. You can use it in savoury or sweet dishes. You can also use it in so many different products. We’ve got customers making marmalade and preserves and then there is the gin producers and beer brewers doing wonderful things with our yuzu. We’re also collaborating with Mount Zero olives and making yuzu agrumato. We love our yuzu baths during the harvest. The whole fruit gets warmed in the bath and releases the oils. The smell is lovely – it’s natural aromatherapy. This is a tradition in Japan for the winter solstice but we have them all the time during the harvest to soothe our minds and tired bodies after a day in the orchard.
What is your favourite way to use Yuzu in cooking?
I’ve got a really nice yuzu and white chocolate lava cake/pudding that I like and I really like making yuzuettes (chocolate coated candied yuzu rind). For tour groups I always make the yuzu marshmallows as they have a real yuzu hit and are a great way to showcase the yuzu flavour. I also like the Japanese style cheesecake with yuzu. I’ve got a really good recipe for barbecue prawns with yuzu kosho (I’ve had feedback from quite a few people that these are the best prawns they have ever had, so this recipe is a real keeper). The other way I use yuzu is in cocktails, the yuzu sour is a favourite or just a yuzu vodka martini. Also the syrup in sparkling water is super refreshing on a hot day.
For someone that hasn’t tasted Yuzu, how would you describe the flavour?
This is a really hard question to answer. Generally, I would say it’s like a cross between a mandarin, lime and grapefruit but really is so unique it’s hard to pinpoint.
Finally, what is your favourite food to growk at?
I’m not sure I growk at any food but our dog certainly does! It’s impossible to eat anything at our place without two little eyes staring longingly at us!
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