We visit Sally Hookey & Peter Heineger from Hinterland Feijoas on the Sunshine Coast to find out more about feijoas and why locals can’t get enough of them.
Tell us a bit about Hinterland Feijoas:
Peter and I started Hinterland Feijoas in 2008 on our four-hectare Sunshine Coast property, as a way of creating additional income and building sustainable farming model for ourselves. Over the years we’ve added a farm shop and food van, and now specialise in long-lunches and events.
For the uninitiated, what is a feijoa and what does it taste like?
Feijoas are a sub-tropical fruit from South America. They are part of the guava family, but have a completely unique taste. The centre of the fruit has a jelly-like sweet centre quite like a mix of pineapple and strawberry in flavour, surrounded by a grainy solid flesh like a pear. There are lemony hints as well.
When is feijoa season and how does it affect you guys operationally?
We pick from late February to March and this is our extremely busy season – quite like running a marathon for a month!
What are some of the challenges of growing feijoas?
Feijoas are very susceptible to fruit fly, making it hard for a home gardener – we use commercial fruit fly nets to control this pest. Otherwise they are very hard plants, but won’t yield good fruit without plenty of water and nutrients, so last year’s drought was very hard.
Have you always been growers? If not what did you do prior to this?
We have always been farmers, but this is our first horticultural venture. Pete was from a broad-acre farming background, and I grew up on a wool sheep farm.
How can bakers use feijoas in baking?
Feijoas are amazing to bake with! There are lots of recipes about this time of year, or you can experiment by substituting one to one any recipe using apple pear or banana. Spices like cinnamon and ginger work well with feijoas, too.
What’s your fave feijoa recipe?
I love my feijoa chocolate cake (on our website) – it’s baked with yoghurt and cinnamon and is not too sweet.