Article by: Hari Yellina
Green Valley Fingerlimes, a major Australian fingerlime grower, has witnessed a rise in demand for the fruit, not just from domestic customers but also from overseas consumers. Fingerlimes are an Australian native rainforest tree that grows as an understory tree, and owner Jade King says the fruit is growing more popular not only in food service settings like restaurants, cafes, and bars, but also in mainstream retail stores for the at-home client. “A lot of my sales seem to be in punnets right now,” she explained, “so fruit merchants are accepting them.” “In the end, I’d want to see them on the market next to blueberries and strawberries; that would be a big objective, and the industry needs to grow a little more before that can happen.”
On the demand side, it appears to peak near the end of the season, when everyone is looking for them. I’m hoping it will expand and become more well-known, allowing us to expand our presence in larger supermarkets. We supplied Coles in Western Australia, and the transaction went smoothly. We sell a lot to restaurants, but demand is steadily increasing from there, aided by television programmes like Masterchef.
When I first started telling everyone that I grew fingerlimes, no one knew what I was talking about, so I had to explain them a lot, but now I don’t have to, which is a nice thing.” The business began in 2012 with the production of fingerlimes. Champagne Red (1200 trees), Chartreuse (600 trees), and Emerald are the three kinds grown at Green Valley. They’re suitable for most dishes that traditional limes are used in, such as salads, desserts, and seafood, according to Ms King, but they have the added benefit of textural differences.
Ms King explained, “Our primary sales variety is the Champagne Red, which we distribute throughout all major Australian markets.” “We also export worldwide, but this has decreased little since COVID. Nevertheless, Singapore is still a strong market for us. We also supply restaurants in the area, as well as chefs and independent grocers like IGA. One of the most important elements of the Champagne Red is the colour, which spans from champagne to red. Because they are a hard-skinned species, they have a longer shelf life and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4-6 weeks. According to the cooks, the lime flavour is on the sweeter side. The Chartreuse type has a green skin, but it degrades faster and has a lower shelf life. They have seeds, unlike most Champagne Reds, and their flavour reminds me of ‘lime fizzwizz’ (sugar), with a clear pearl inside. Emerald has a dark skin tone and a green colour.
Green Valley Fingerlimes is located in Beerwah, on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Apart from seasonal fruits and vegetables, with a focus on finger limes and ginger, the fruit is cultivated on a chemical-free mixed farm with Brangus beef cattle and Wiltipoll sheep. In Australia, the season for fingerlimes lasts around six months, from January to June. “I can stretch the season a little if I can regulate flowering a little,” Ms King added, “but this year has been very challenging for everyone.” “We still have a lot of fruit on the tree right now, so we’ll keep it going a little longer.” We can still get some supply off for some of the key chefs I supply during the off-season, so I can continue to provide them.