History And Story
The process of providing high quality fresh tea for your family is a labour intensive business which Nucifora’s has clearly turned into a labour of love. The tea estate is about 120 acres in size and is divided into 3 sections. Harvesting tea is a continuous process and takes place every 21 days. We only pick the top 2 leaves and buds so that only the finest and freshest leaves are harvested.
≡Mechanical Tea Picker
In China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other tea producing countries, tea is hand-picked. Farmers in these countries have lowwages but in Australia wages are much higher. The biggest reason for Nucifora’s success is the inventiveness of Sybbie Nucifora. Sybbie designed and built a mechanical tea picker.
≡The Beginning of 'Nucifora'
Early in February 1985, the Nucifora family began picking tea seeds at Pat Byrnes Old Tea Plantation. The crew struggled against 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.
≡January 1985 Disaster Strikes
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 polyethyene and on this particular Saturday, whilst they were having their lunch break, the shed caught fire and both the shed and thousands of dollars’ worth of their plastic mulch were destroyed. They had to grit their teeth and start from scratch again. Some 3000 holes were punched into each of 300 rolls of plastic.
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 them unusable and more good seed had to be obtained. The planting process comprises laying the polyethyene which was laid at 8ft centres with 4 rows of plants in each run. We were very fortunate there were no actual pests attacting the young 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.