Barbara Barlin is a local providore who makes and sells products made from Australian native plants and trees, and she is a regular at the Hastings Farmers’ Markets. Focus catches up with Barbara to talk about her unique products.
> What is Barbushco, and what does it mean?
The name Barbushco comes from Barlins’ Bushfood Company. We produce and sell all Australian native products. It is a family owned business started by my husband Bruce and I as a means to diversify our farming interests. In 1996 when the bottom had dropped out of the beef cattle industry, we decided to look at alternatives. It was then we decided to plant some Australian native trees for the bushfood industry. We now have over 26,000 Australian native trees.
> Tell us about your organic practises …
We have always used organic practises on our farm, and in 2001 decided it was time to obtain organic certification. We became members of OGA, Organic Growers of Australia and are now certified through Australian Certified Organic Pty Ltd (grower number 951A) and have been Certified A Grade Organic since 2004.
> Define for us what bushfoods consist of …
Most Australians think of bushfoods as emu, kangaroo and witchetty grubs, but that is only the sensationalised side of bushfoods. Australia has thousands of unique native foods, and we currently utilise only a few of these. Some flavours are similar to those we import from overseas, and some are unlike anything you’ve tasted before, but all can be incorporated into our existing diets and food habits.
Bushfoods grow all over Australia in different climate zones. We have chosen to grow plants that are native to our own area of the NSW north coast. We started by planting Lemon Myrtle and Aniseed Myrtle trees. Since then we have also planted Dorrigo Peppers, Cinnamon Myrtles, Lemon Scented Tea Trees, Davidson Plums, Rosellas, Riberries and Brush Cherries. From these, we produce spices, jams, sauces, essential oils, bush flavoured pastas, Bush Dukkah and teas.
Our company policy is to produce fresh flavours, so all our spices and teas are freshly ground to order. Even though this sometimes means making small batches, it also means that we can cater for special requests for finer or coarser grades.
> Spices are one of the main products you produce. Tell us about them …
One of the popular ones is Lemon Myrtle, as it has a superb fragrance and a delightful flavour of a blend of lemon, lemongrass and lime. The flavour blends beautifully in a variety of culinary applications. It is exquisite in cheesecakes, desserts, breads, biscuits, and chocolates and creates a superlative flavour for fish, sauces, pasta and beverages.
It can be used instead of lemongrass in Thai cooking, and because of its ease of use is becoming a real favourite with the Asian chefs. Barbushco assisted the Hastings Dairy Co-op in the development of their gold medal winning yoghurt flavours, Lemon Myrtle & Honey and Wattleseed and Honey.
Dorrigo Pepper is an Australian Leaf Pepper with a sharp, hot flavour. It is similar to black pepper in taste. Although more subtle when first tasted, it has a longer palate, and grows on you the more you eat. It complements cheese, dips, bread, pates, soups, mustards and sauces, and it can be used in any culinary application where common pepper is used. As a leaf pepper it is better for digestion than peppercorns.
Aniseed Myrtle contains one of the highest sources of the compound anethole.
The leaf is highly aromatic, and yet the aniseed flavour is very soft and creates a delicate spice. Used to flavour pasta, seafood, stocks, sauces, breads, biscuits, chocolates, ice cream and liqueurs.
Aniseed Myrtle can be substituted for Star anise, Fennel or Tarragon in any recipe.
Cinnamon Myrtle, as its name would suggest, has a fragrance and flavour close to cinnamon, although uniquely different with some hints of nutmeg. It is found on the Mid North Coast of NSW, predominately around the Macleay valley near Kempsey. It can be used in sweet and savoury dishes to substitute for cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. A great spice to use in cakes, biscuits, curries and stews.
From the Cinnamon Myrtle and the Lemon Myrtle, Barbushco produce a blended spice named Rainforest Blend Spice. This blend combines these two flavours in a fabulous mix which is so easy to use.
It can be used in Asian cooking, curries, stews, stir-frys, salads or instead of mixed herbs in chicken stuffing, rissoles etc. This blend is great sprinkled on chicken, fish or BBQ meats. It also lends itself to use in biscuits and cakes, particularly carrot cake.
Perhaps the most recognised of the Australian flavours is Wattleseed, which has a coffee/hazelnut/chocolate flavour, and is great in ice-cream, cream, cakes, breads and biscuits. A lot of people are using Wattleseed as an alternative to ground coffee.
Although we have many wattles on our property, we have chosen to buy in wattleseed from South Australia, as the dry area wattles have a superior flavour to the coastal varieties. We roast and grind the wattleseed as required to maintain its freshness and flavour.
> You also produce a great range of beverages, pastas, syrups …
We have Lemon Myrtle Tea: Lemon Myrtle Black Tea Blend or Lemon Myrtle Green Tea Blend and a great Rainforest Blend Tea, which is an interesting blend of Lemon Myrtle, Aniseed Myrtle and Lemon Scented Tea tree. Still with that wonderful Lemon Myrtle flavour, but with the added zest of the other spices.
We have BUSH DUKKAH, which is a tasty mix of nuts, seeds and bush spices. Dukkah is traditionally eaten as an appetiser by dipping fresh bread into oil, and then into the Dukkah.
And we have a great range of sauces, syrups and jams too.
> What about your essential oils?
We have a Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) Essential Oil.
This pure essential oil is prepared from the leaves of the Australian rainforest tree grown in plantations from selected cultivars of this species. It is the world’s richest known source of the lemon flavour and fragrance citral (90-98%). A superb fragrance with a delightful flavour, complementing a variety of culinary applications.
An exquisite essential oil for vapourisation and aromatherapy. Citral oil is regarded as non toxic and has met both US and European standards for safety for use in foods.
Citral oils have been widely used in foods and beverages for many years to add flavour and fragrance, as well as in aromatherapy, perfumes, colognes and toiletries.
The leaves, a renewable resource, are the only part of the plant which is used. To ensure the product is of the highest quality, strict standards are maintained during all stages of production, both in the plantation and the laboratory.
Essential Oil – Lemon Scented Tea Tree (Leptospermum Petersonii)
This pure essential oil is prepared from the leaves and stems of this Australian native tree. The Lemon Scented Tea Tree has similar medicinal characteristics to the ordinary Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) as an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic. Recent tests with the Leptospermum Petersonii has found the bacterial killing action to be more effective against Staphylococcus auereus, Candida albicans and Aspergillas niger than the Alternifolia.
The Leptospermum Petersonii Oil has a high citral content, which gives it a pleasant Lemon scent, however this could cause irritation in sensitive skins. Lemon Scented Tea Tree also contains the insect repellants Citronellal, Citronellol and Geraniol. Lemon Tea Tree Oil can be used in Aromatherapy as an immune system stimulant, particularly for colds and flu, for the digestive system (dyspepsia & colitis), and for the treatment of anxiety, stress, depression and nervous tension.
> How can people purchase your products?
People can purchase our products at the Wauchope Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month or at the Laurieton markets on the 3rd Sunday.
Some products are also available from Ricardoes Tomatoes, Sea Acres, the IGA in Wauchope or Port Macquarie (near the Growers Market) or we deliver around the Hastings area on Thursdays – phone 6556 9656 or visit our web site at www.barbushco.com.au
> Thank you Barbara.