Nucifora Tea Estate is a beautiful plantation nestled at the base of the World Heritage Wooroonoonan National Park. The plantation covers 120 acres and has been producing pure high quality black tea for the Australian markets since 1985. Nucifora tea is a unique experience in that it is not blended with leaves from other areas or crops. Pure, unadulterated, fresh tea leaves.
Today you can enjoy the sweeping panoramic views of the established tea plantation and take home your very own fresh tea from the on site road side store.
The process of bringing high quality tea to your homes is a labour intensive business which the Nucifora's have clearly turned into a labour of love.
The 120 acres is divided into 3 sections so harvesting is a continuous process. Every 21 days each bush has only the top 2 leaves and the bud picked so that only the finest & freshest is harvested every time. This continues all year round. Nucifora provides you with some of the freshest tea people will ever have the opportunity to drink.
A largest part of the success of this plantation can be contributed to Sybbie Nucifora's ingenuity. He saw the need for a mechanical harvester.
"Overseas in the big tea producing countries like China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the tea is harvested by hand and those workers are paid $1, maybe $2 a day. Obviously you can't do that in Australia".
With necessity being the mother of invention, Sybbie actually designed his mechanical tea picker, and what's more he had it built locally, just down the road at Innisfail.
Early in February 1985, we began picking tea seeds at Pat Byrnes Old Tea Plantation. The crew struggled through green ants and raspberry bushes to pick 4,000kgs. These seeds were taken to Cairns to be kept in cold storage until anticipated planting in early April.
Sybbie and Sam were halfway through the painstaking task of punching the holes in the plastic mulch. Each day they would burn the cardboard wrappers from around the rolls of polythene and on this particular Saturday, whilst they were having their lunch break, the shed caught fire and totally destroyed the shed and thousands of dollars worth of their plastic mulch. They had to grit their teeth and start from scratch again. Some 3000 holes were punched into 300 rolls of plastic.
The process of laying the polythene mulch covering the first area for the first planting. The polythene was laid at 8ft centres with 4 rows of plants in each run of polythene.
By the time they were ready to plant some of the seed from Pat Byrnes Old Tea Plantation had already germinated in the bags, this rendered it unusable and more good seed had to be obtained from the Tea Estates. This was cleaned and separated using gauze frames. Then there was the tedious task of planting the seeds. There were 4 rows of holes in the plastic and each of the 4 planters had to put a seed in each hole in their row of plastic.
We were very fortunate there were no actual pests that eat the tea but the control of weeds and getting it to the stage where it was being harvested after four or five years was quite challenging. Hard work and patience plus capital have been the necessary ingredients to ensure the success of the plantation.
New products are coming soon!