After having explored Antigua in the morning we decided to go on a short drive to the Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm.
Valhalla was established by American, Lawrence Gottschamer, after he unsuccessfully tried to establish a macadamia nut farm in Costa Rica using a Hawaiian breed of tree. Valhalla was established in 1984 using a California macadamia nut tree and has successfully grown over 400 trees on the small farm and produces skin care products, chocolates and uses the nuts in products produced in their kitchen. They also sell macadamia nut trees to the public and have helped others in both Guatemala and other central American countries establish farms.
On our arrival one of the guides on the farm took our family on a short and informative tour. Macadamia nuts originated in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, Australia where we are from, before being introduced to Hawaii and then California. Our tour began with showing us the two varieties of macadamia trees grown on the property. M. Tetraphylla produces pink flowers and smaller and sweeter nuts and the M. Lntegrifolia produces white flowers and much larger nuts.
The farm is completely organic and pesticide free. All of the macadamia nut is used. The green outer husk is used as compost, the hard outer shell is used in the kitchen as fuel to cook with and the nut is used in their soaps, skin care products and eaten.
The macadamia nut actually takes about 8 months to completely grow and is left to fall from the tree where it is collected from the ground. The green outer shell is removed from the nut using a machine invented by Lawrence utilizing a tyre and a 5 power horse engine. The engine rotates the tyre which scrapes the shell off and it falls through the wires to the ground and the nut encased in its hard shell ends up in the tray. A simple but successful machine.
From here the macadamia nut is left in the sun to dry until the moisture evaporates and the nut pulls away from the shell. You can here the nut rattle when it has dried out.
The next step involves sorting he nuts into six different sizes and uses yet another machine invented by Lawrence. The nuts roll down the wires that gradually get wider as they progress from top to bottom. The nuts fall through and into the correct sized bag. Max and Ava enjoyed grabbing a handful of nuts each and rolling them down.
The final part of the tour is the sampling. We tried the macadamia nut oil and moisturiser, the nuts, some waffle and chocolate macadamia nuts. The products, with the exception of the skin care range were delicious.
Another thing the farm prides itself on is its toilet. Toilet? yes you did hear correctly. They believe they have the best toilet in Guatemala. Take a look at the picture and decide for your self.
We decided to stay on and indulge in some macadamia nut pancakes with macadamia nut butter and blueberries. I have to say they really were delicious. They have an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch and snacks. A dessert sized portion of the pancakes will set you back 35 Q.
The farm is open 8 am – 4 pm.