SA joins the Feijoa craze

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 28th March 2011

Feijoas: they say you either love them, or don’t know what they are. Devotees of this South American sub-tropical fruit, also known as the pineapple guava, will know how difficult it is to find them, short of growing them yourself.

Popular for a long time in New Zealand, this tart, distinctively-flavoured fruit is gaining in commercial popularity in Australia, but few fruit-growers have adopted the humble shrub most commonly found in front gardens.

Feijoa: Wikimedia Commons - Credit HortResearchBest known in Australia as a flavouring in 42 Below’s feijoa vodka and an ingredient in Charlie’s blended feijoa juices, these fruits can be made into jams, wines, icecreams and other desserts.

Now, a Riverland horticultural business, GM Arnold & Son, has announced plans to create a commercial feijoa orchard, with the support of the South Australian Government – the first for South Australia, and the second commercial orchard in Australia.

SA’s Regional Development Minister Gail Gago said the company had established a good track record in diversifying its traditional citrus holdings, and as such had qualified for the $10,500 grant from the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund.

“These funds have been awarded to GM Arnold & Son for costs associated with establishing the Feijoa orchard over the first two years of a planned five-year trial,” the Minister said.

“It will enable GM Arnold & Son to expand into an exciting new niche market.

“Feijoa is currently grown commercially in Brazil and northern Argentina. It has a sweet, fruit-salad-like flavour. These trees are drought tolerant and thrive under irrigation.

“Commercial production of the Feijoa will be for the domestic market, and G M Arnold & Son has already received interest in the product from Melbourne.”

GM Arnold & Son business manager David Arnold thanked the Government for its support.

“Thanks to the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund our business is now able to establish the sustainability of Feijoa as a commercial cultivar for the region,” he said.

“It gives communities and businesses great confidence when governments put support into a region that has plenty to offer.”

Bob Neville, of Feijoa Australia, said that the feijoa industry in Australia was becoming more established, with young shrubs now available to commercial growers, and new fruiting varieties slowly coming in.