Anyone who has walked in the High Country will be able to relate to this one. Mountain Pepper is a common shrub that has a strong and spicy taste. Its about some farmers in Gippsland who have started to cultivate Mountain Pepper to sell at markets.
Mountain Pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata) is found in cool wet habits from sea level to alpine areas in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. It grows in mountain gullies and mountainous areas
The story below comes from the ABC by journalist Laura Poole.
A native pepper is diversifying the farm income for a garlic grower in Victoria’s Strzelecki Ranges.
Mountain pepper is a native Australian plant, producing pepper with a floral aftertaste.
Leon Trembath from Madalya, in South Gippsland, said the product was popular at farmers’ markets.
“Mountain pepper is a native vegetation that if you take the berries off it you’ve got pepper,” he said.
“It’s native to Victoria, Tassie, a little in the ACT and a bit in NSW.
“It’s very much a rainforest product.
“It’s not so much hot, but peppery.
“It’s an aftertaste too; once you ingest it, a minute later, it comes back right at the back of the throat.”
Mr Trembath and his wife Cathy harvest the mountain pepper in May, June and July.
As well as picking the berries off the plants they have cultivated, they also ‘wild harvest’.
Once picked, the berries spend some time in the freezer, to kill off any bugs, and then the fruit is dried out.
“It’s an awakening for people who have never seen it never tried it, they are very cautious, they’ll try a bit and then they’ll come back for more.”
Mr Trembath said he had been harvesting the pepper for more than a decade. He said the idea came to him when he walking through the bush, and tasted the berries.
He said he does not know of any other mountain pepper producers in Australia.
“We’ve progressed from knowing nothing to knowing a little.