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Gubinge Harvest 2014

Just this morning we received 3,000kg of Gubinge from our friends in the Kimberley! Then, right this afternoon, we received these beautiful photographs plus this fantastic account of time out on the land during harvest. A huge thank you to Lahea for sending these to us - lots more great photos from 2014's harvest here!

Gubinge is the Nyul Nyul language name for the Kimberley version of the Kakadu Plum. It is wildharvested from the Dampier Peninsula just north of Broome and is the highest natural source of vitamin C on the planet.

The birds sing, it really begins before sunup, only a few at first...the chorus comes later.

“Will yourself to move…move, and just get up”. Stretch, yawn and breathe out.

Like the ashen fireplace that cooked last night’s feed, it takes a bit to get going. It is the sensation that only comes from the hard work of yesterday.

Watching, I see everyone holding onto their pannikins, savouring its content of billy-tea. I have to laugh...I am doing the same, talk about the simple things! With January and February over the Gubinge is becoming more challenging to find and recent weather has added to this.

A tropical low travelling down from the North was predicted to track its course through the east Kimberley. Yet, as unpredictable as the weather, it found passage in the west and hugged the coastline showering us with over 250ml of rain in 36hrs.By Kimberley standard this is a lot of water and we know it means large picking areas will no longer be accessible. Harrowing 90km an hour winds which lashed the countryside as the system passed will have also affected fruit bearing trees. We discuss that our best option is to trek further into the bush where the trees are more protected.

The day has now shown itself, beautiful soft and pastel, I take in the last of the night as it recedes. This is the moment all senses forebode the inevitable heat, time to get moving. The daily quest for the Gubinge begins.

Grabbing our ladders, harvest bags, mud crab hooks and endurance, I realise again how very basic our equipment is. We have no GPS, tracking device and navigating through the bush is achieved on foot by following an intricate set of donkey trails. Donkeys replaced the work of horses on the Dampier Peninsular during white settlement, unlike the horse they are immune to a deadly native plant called Bundjurrk [Nyul Nyul] or Walkabout Weed.

Today Donkeys roam wild and their trails assist with the Gubinge harvest immensely. We mentally map out areas and it is just a matter of methodically checking trees. Simplicity works well in the bush and I am constantly impressed with how this heightens our natural instincts, developing our ability to interpret nature’s subtle communication. Wandering further into the bush, the call from some nearby parrots alert us, there is fruit here ready to harvest....the parrots always find the best trees with the sweetest fruit.

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