MEET THE PRO­DUC­ERS

Ron and Maria Kemp, South­ern For­est Green Tea, North­cliffe, WA

Country Style - - FLAVOURS -

Talk of grow­ing green tea around Man­jimup,wa, started back in the 1990s when the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Food (now the Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional Devel­op­ment) planted a trial crop. Ron and Maria Kemp thought it might work for them when they moved to their 160-hectare prop­erty near North­cliffffe in 2000. “It was about di­ver­si­fi­fi­ca­tion,” says Ron, a former cat­tle farmer. First up, they planted 2000 Hass av­o­cado trees, which fruit from Oc­to­ber to Fe­bru­ary, then put in 50,000 Camel­lia sinen­sis bushes 10 years ago. “It was a lot of work to get them es­tab­lished and keep them clear of weeds,” says Ron. The Kemps, the only green-tea grow­ers and pro­duc­ers in WA, have in­vested in pro­cess­ing equip­ment. “We har­vest the new leaves about fi­five times dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son and they’re in the dryer within an hour.” South­ern For­est Green Tea is avail­able on­line, and in lo­cal cafés and shops. south­ern­forest­green­tea.com.au

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