Lorenzo, owner of
Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm
were immediately greeted by Lorenzo, a colorful
character with stories to tell, and the owner of the
Lorenzo used to be a fireman who injured himself after
falling straight to the ground through the roof of a 3
story burning building. Choosing, as he put it, not to
'get on the dole' from the government for his injuries,
he found himself in Baja California living on a piece of
land in his classic Air Stream trailer.
Having both a curious and productive nature, he was
recruited to go to Costa Rica to head up a macadamia
nut farm there. As circumstances had it, he was able to
obtain free firsthand training from a local university on how
to raise macadamia trees. An excellent opportunity!
Eventually he found
himself in Guatemala just outside of Antigua on a
macadamia nut orchard and in 1979 took it over from a man who
could no longer run it.
Products of the rancho
were whisked away to a private table in a corner of the
orchard. Moments later we were served pancakes made from
macadamia nut flour. Fresh
organic blueberries from his rancho and macadamia nut butter graced the top of
this yummy pancake. Honey from Lorenzo's hives and a cup of steaming
mountain grown coffee completed this tasty surprise.
While we enjoyed this generous feast, Lorenzo continued
with his nutty tale.
Macadamias growing on the tree
the world of nuts and berries, macadamia nuts are almost
as precious as gold. This tree and its fruit are astonishingly
useful in a variety of ways.
outer shells of the nut are almost pure carbon so
they are ground up and used for power-cleaning
buildings, for polishing gems, and are also put in the
polymer for the roads built in Guatemala. The green part of the
shell under the hard outer covering is used as
fertilizer to replenish the soil, and the nut meat is used for food, oil, and
Nut yielding flower sprays
Clusters of flowers that are white or pink
bloom over a 4 to 6 month period so nuts mature at
different times, giving an almost continuous crop. Hundreds of
flowers appear in sprays
like the ones in the above photo, and each spray produces up to 20 nuts.
As the nuts ripen on the trees the outer shells open and
the nuts naturally fall to the ground.
Over 100 pounds of nuts
can be harvested from a dozen trees each year.
prized shelled nut meat
Lorenzo doesn�t graft and train his trees to
create more product from central leader growth. Nor does
he use any organic fertilizers or organic pesticides.
Instead, he allows the over 250 different varieties of macadamia
trees take care of the insects themselves. In many cases
the trees send out pheromones that cause certain insects
to come to them cleaning their bark and any other
excesses the tree might have. In his opinion, organic fertilizers and
organic pesticides just interrupt this natural process.
protect his blueberries from feasting birds, plates of
dog food are positioned all around the organic orchard.
Birds are distracted by the ready-to-eat food and leave
the blueberries alone.
Lorenzo is quite an innovator and won a gold medal in Geneva for his environmental
Indigenous mountain men with their gift of
macadamia nut trees
his creative business fashion, Lorenzo has given
macadamia nut trees to the peoples in his
area where they cultivate the trees on their own land. He has
approximately 350,000 trees all over
Lorenzo's method of growing these seedlings without
having them become root bound, allows him to give 50
trees at a time to a family which they then are able to
carry back to their land to plant.
These trees reduce the slash and burn culture that is
native to them by giving them a sustainable livelihood
where they can stay in the same location and harvest
from the trees. The trees also provide
Since these trees give
fruit daily, the families who tend them
have a daily source of protein for their children.
children have better concentration due to the added
protein in their diets and their improvement in school
has been noted since Lorenzo started his tree project
a nut is not first quality, it is often used as animal
feed. And since Guatemala also grows coffee, the shells
can be sold as a wood substitute for coffee roasting.
These shells are also used by native families to cook their
Macadamia nuts are an excellent source of iron, calcium,
vitamin B, and phosphorus. Although they contain almost 80%
fat, the fat is mono-saturated and as
acceptable as olive oil in many diets.
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and continuous flower sprays
has cultivated a seedling tree that will flower two
years from the seed. Normally a tree would take 3-5
years to flower, so his trees are able to produce in half the time.
A macadamia nut
tree can live anywhere from 200 to 500 years. The
work Lorenzo is doing by teaching the local population
how to maintain and harvest these nuts will be passed on
to future generations.
crop alternates every other year with high and low
When the nuts fall to the
ground, the natives collect them, bring them
back to Lorenzo and he pays the family per pound.
All over Guatemala, pounds and pounds of nuts are harvested and brought to
Before cracking, roasting, and packaging, macadamias
must be sorted by size.
Another nutty invention by Lorenzo
is the sorting machine that Lorenzo invented to easily
allow the macadamias to fall into groups of similar
Only nuts of
equal size can be placed into the machine which will crack off the
distinctively hard outer shell.
Afterwards, a green husk still remains which must
rubbed off by yet another machine.
After sizing, cracking
and husking, the nutmeat goes into
a dryer, and the oven takes 3-5 days to remove moisture
from the nut bringing it to 1.5% humidity
by weight.. This is 50% dryer than powdered milk, and
is a means of preserving the nutmeat.
processes 6-7 tons of
nutmeat a year.
A macadamia nut oil
all this nutty information, we were escorted into a
small salon for our free facials. Packed with omega
oils, our skin was rejuvenated.
Lorenzo was able to sell his cold pressed macadamia nut
oil formula to Lancomb, and you will find it in their
anti-aging night creams. Here in Lorenzo's store you are
able to purchase
chocolates, macadamia cosmetics and nuts, along with
organic coffee, macadamia nut recipes and flour.
Lorenzo charming his next guests
An inventor extraordinaire, Lorenzo is a creative
self-motivated man who focused on helping the
indigenous peoples in the area.
Words of wisdom from this man?
If you are going to dream, dream big.
It costs the
you are planning a trip to Antigua, Guatemala, make it a point to go to
San Miguel Duenas and visit the Valhalla Macadamia nut
farm. You won't be disappointed.
Macadamia Nut Farm
502.7831.5799 Farm 502.5899.4925
Emilia Aguirre, Skin Care
Apartado postal 268
Antigua Sac. Guatemala
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