Australian yuzu growers get fantastic prices

It's the odd lemon-like fruit which is prickly to pick and has a flavour difficult to describe, but yuzu is highly prized, particularly in Japanese cuisine.

The yuzu (Citrus junos). It looks like a lemon, but tastes like mandarin, orange and grapefruit. While most citrus fetches prices of less than $500 a ton, yuzu growers are getting as much as $25,000 a ton, or $25 per kilogram, at the farm gate.

The South Australian Arnold family is one of only three known commercial yuzu growers in Australia. When prices for oranges and other mainstream citrus tanked in the years leading up to 2012, the second-generation fruit-growing family looked to diversify. They grafted yuzu onto orange-tree rootstock and have been harvesting crops for the past two years.

The season started in mid-May and was finished by the end of the month, and the Arnold family's 26 trees produce about 700 kilograms of fruit, which has been snapped up by high-end chefs.

While resembling a lemon on the outside, inside the fruit is full of seeds and often has patches of brown on the flesh.

At Chillingham in the Tweed Valley of northern New South Wales, "Buck" Buchanan was the first in Australia to start growing yuzu commercially. In the 1990s he was hosting a number of tour buses, of mainly Japanese tourists.

According to, the fruit's aroma and the oil in the skin of yuzu has meant, in Japan, it is manufactured into body products, and Buck Buchanan has his own line of shampoos and lotions.

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