Big Island Macadamia Nuts
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Covered Macadamia Nuts and related Hard to find Hawaiian Macadamia Nut
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History of Macadamia Nuts in Hawaii
|Hawaii is the macadamia nut
capital of the world, growing 90% of the world's macadamia
nuts. One of the first things a traveler to Hawaii notices on
their arrival at the airport or first visit to any convenience
store is the huge displays of macadamia nut products, such as gift
packs of dry roasted nuts, chocolate covered nuts and macadamia
The macadamia nut tree originated in Australia. The
macadamia was classified and named jointly by Baron Sir Ferdinand
Jakob Heinrich von Mueller, Director for the Botanical Gardens in
Melbourne and Walter Hill, first superintendent of the Botanic
Gardens in Brisbane. The tree was named in honor of Mueller's
friend, Dr. John Macadam, a noted lecturer in practical and
theoretical chemistry at the University of Melbourne, and a member
The tree was first planted in Hawaii near in Kapulena on the
Big Island of Hawaii in 1882. William H. Purvis, a sugar
plantation manager on the Big Island, visited Australia and was
impressed by the beauty of the tree. He brought the seeds back to
Hawaii where he planted them at Kapulena. For the next 40 years,
the trees were raised primarily as ornamental trees and not for
In 1921 a Massachusetts man named Ernest Shelton Van Tassell
established the first macadamia plantation near Honolulu. This
early attempt, however, met with failure, since seedlings from the
same tree would often produce nuts of differing yield and quality.
The University of Hawaii entered the picture and embarked upon
over 20 years of research to improve the tree's crop.
It wasn't until the 1950s, when larger corporations entered the
picture, that production of macadamia nuts for commercial sale
became substantial. The first major investor was Castle & Cooke,
owners of the Dole Pineapple Co. Soon after, the C. Brewer and
Company Ltd., began their investment in macadamia nuts.
Eventually C. Brewer bought Castle & Cooke's macadamia
operations and began marketing its nuts under the Mauna Loa brand
in 1976. Today, Mauna Loa is still a popular brand name and is
owned by Hershey. Update February 2015 - Mauna Loa will be sold to
More Interesting Facts:
· Macadamia nuts are not picked from the tree but are fully
ripened when they fall and are then harvested.
· Hawaii’s 700 farms and 8 processing plants employ 4,000 workers.
· The macadamia tree is related to the protea family.
· Total Hawaii macadamia nut farm value in 1999 was $37.4 million.
· Tough nut to crack: it takes 300 lbs. per square inch to break
the macadamia nut shell, hardest of all nut shells.
· U.S. is the largest consumer (51%) with Japan following at 15%.
· Macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fatty acid (“good”
fat) and have been demonstrated to help reduce overall cholesterol
· The Hawaii Macadamia Nut Association’s launching its “100%
Hawaii-grown Macadamia Nuts” campaign: “The Hawaiian Macadamia,
Grown with Aloha”.
· Virtually all of Hawaii’s macadamia nuts come from the Big
Island of Hawaii.
· Nuts are high in minerals and protein and are part of a healthy
· Hawaii growers are the world leaders in cultivation techniques.