The sweet, juicy, tropical Achacha originated in Bolivia in the Amazon Basin and by the locals are known as the Achachairu (ah-cha-chay-ROO), which translates as ‘honey kiss’. The fruit is highly regarded in the area around the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra where the locals celebrate it with an annual festival.
In 2002, Achacha seeds made the long trip from Bolivia to Australia and landed on a farm between Townsville and Ayr at Palm Creek Plantation near Giru, North Queensland. The fully certified organic plantation is managed by Helen and Bruce Hill, a husband and wife duo. The plantation is the only one licensed to grow these goodies here in Australia, with fruit available for the last 13 years! Helen and Bruce are seriously passionate about biodynamics and work with Mother Nature in everything they do.
“We have to look after Mother Nature, and she will look after us. It’s how it works.” Says Helen.
The flavour of the Achacha is the perfect balance between acidity and sweetness, with a slight tropical tang that is seriously refreshing. They’re in season in Australia between December and March so that is when you’d want to get them on your menus! They’re a relative of the Mangosteen and have a banana/mango type texture. You can even use the crunchy skin as an ingredient for a fresh, summery drink and reduce your waste in the kitchen!
But wait, how do they grow their delicious, high quality fruit? Well, it comes down to the fantastic practices that Helen and Bruce have trialed and tested over the years. There is no need for nasty chemicals and sprays at their farm. Instead, they’ve developed a highly nutrient-dense soil that includes cow manure from the farmer next door, special biodynamic herbs containing several vital properties, grounded eggshells for a calcium element and other sea minerals like fermented kelp and fish. This soil is biologically active and keeps the crops incredibly healthy, creating beautiful fruit and simultaneously keeping pests away.
“When the crop’s immune system is healthy, the bugs tend to avoid the crops. So we only really have grasshoppers that eat the leaves.” Says Helen.
They also have nearly 30 horses on their property that play a vital role in biodynamics and, surprisingly, the gardening! The soil is just that good that unwanted vines grow among the Achacha trees and make it hard for the pickers to get to the fruit, but the horses love those vines! Helen and Bruce have the horses on rotation in the paddock, and they munch up the vines with no worries at all. They are put into another pen away from the crops three weeks before harvesting and are given a good pat for the job well done.
The bright orange, egg-shaped fruit stores really well and doesn’t continue ripening once it’s harvested as it’s a non-climacteric fruit. Unless you plan on eating it that day, it’s recommended not to store it in the fridge as it will be too cold. Keeping them in a sealed bag or container on the bench is usually your best bet, maintaining a room temperature. Be sure to eat it carefully as there is a seed in the middle.
Director of Suncoast Fresh, Graeme Twine, met Helen and they worked with one another along with the rest of their teams to bring Achachas to the kitchens around Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and beyond. Since merging with our brother company Fruitlink, who supply independent supermarkets and retailers across Queensland and New South Wales, we have been able to extend the reach, spreading the joy of Achachas even more.
As fruit and vegetable suppliers, we feel privileged to work alongside Helen and Bruce not only because they are truly wonderful people but because we align with their values and admire their commitment to organics and biodynamic practices. “I went up to the Brisbane Markets to find a regional distributor and somehow we found Graeme. He was driving to the Gold Coast when I originally called him and was about halfway, and he turned back to come meet me, and that’s how it all got started.” Says Helen.
If you would like to get your hands on some Achachas, please speak to your Account Manager. Haven’t got Wholesale Account with Suncoast Fresh? Feel free to reach out to us here.