Tasmania sits right in the teeth of the Roaring Forties; the weather system that runs the Southern Hemisphere like an engine. The swirling winds bring the freshest air on earth to the Natural State as well as clean rains. Add that to deep, nutrient soil and you have the perfect recipe for abundant agriculture. Everybody knows Tasmania as the Apple Isle due to its numerous orchards, but not many know that nearly a quarter of Tasmania's land is consumed by agriculture. Meat, vegetables, fruit and dairy products are made fresh every day and many farmers go beyond organic. And that's a testament to Tasmania's commitment to preservation and authenticity. Essentially, the entire state is farm to table.
Tasmania's government has stepped in to place in an indefinite ban on genetically modified crops. Hormones and antibiotics are also banned for growing livestock. And the government sets aside millions of dollars to create efficient and large-scale irrigation projects to suit the expansion of farming on the island. To put it into perspective, agricultural growth rate on the Tasmanian island is 3.7% per year. That's nearly double the world average of 1.7% and triple the average of Australian mainland agricultural growth over the last 10 years. All of this adds up to make agriculture the largest contributor to Tasmania's economy.
Mild Climate and Four Distinct Seasons
One of the reasons for the indomitable expansion of agriculture on the Tasmanian island is the mild climate. There are no deep, dark and cold winters and neither are there sweltering summers. However, the climate does change with 4 distinct seasons which allows for a planting and harvesting cycle. But despite the cyclical seasons, there is nary a threat of losing crops to frost or drought.
As you're well aware by now, Tasmania is an island. It broke away from the Australian mainland nearly 10,000 years ago to carve its own identity. Unlike the dry red centre, Tasmania is lush and green. It's also completely separated from the rest of the world.
This separation allows Tasmania to control quality when it comes to agricultural. Very few pests or diseases make their way to the island from the Australian mainland and the rest of the world. This allows farmers to keep strict quality controls over their products which are sought the world over.
Climate Change and Wines
Many winegrowers are already making contracts with Tasmanian vineyards to escape the effects of climate change. Wine grapes are especially sensitive to changes in temperature and many of the planet's best wine regions will be unable to grow these grapes by the year 2050. But Tasmania's cool temperate climate keeps temperatures relatively intact even in the face of worldwide changes. This relative climate stasis ensures that Tasmania has old vines to produce some of the best wine grapes on planet Earth going forward. In fact, many winegrowers are planting vines now for the year 2100.
Wool and Meat
Saxon Merino sheep thrive in the lower rainfall districts of Tasmania. The Tasmanian superfine wool industry continues to set standards and prices around the world. Tasmanian lamb, venison and beef are sought after by some of the finest restaurants on the Australian mainland and around the planet. These fine meats are especially in demand in niche markets where quality is more important than quantity or price.
One of the largest contributors to Tasmania's economy is the poppy industry. More than 20,000 hectares of land are set aside to grow up to 2.5 tonnes of poppy heads. Tasmania's efficient production of poppy supplies 40% of the medical market in the United States for drugs like codeine. And poppy flowers also provide other pharmaceutical chemicals that are shipped off to other countries in Europe.
Another driver of the agricultural market in Tasmania is Pyrethrum, which is a natural pesticide. Grown carefully under contract with the Botanical Resources Australia, the flowers are produced into pellets to be exported to the United States. More than 2,000 hectares of land are set aside on the northwest coast where a processing facility manufactures the pesticide.
You'll find rolling hills and lush pastures all over Tasmania. Deep, fertile soils team up with reliable rainfall to make for nutritious grazing. And Tasmania's dairy cows are quite happy, as they live outside all year round due to the mild climate. All of this adds up to some of the best dairy products on planet Earth. And, as you drink that milk or scoop that ice cream, you can feel good about dairy cow conditions in the Natural State.
Apples and Vegetables
It's a beautiful drive to the Huon River Valley from Hobart. You'll find endlessly green rolling hills covered in apple, pear, apricot and cherry trees. This abundant Valley has earned Tasmania the nickname "The Apple Isle." Over 83% of Tasmania's apples are grown in the Huon District with the remainder being grown in the Spreyton and Tamar Regions. And one-third of all fruits and vegetables grown on the island are exported overseas.
Another quarter of Tasmania's fruit and vegetable production is sent to the Australian mainland. Tasmania is truly the breadbasket of Australia and Aussies are happy for it. After all, Tasmania is committed to using as little chemicals and processing as possible to make the carrots, broccoli, peas, beans, cauliflower, potatoes, barley, wheat, oats, apples, pears, apricots and cherries as healthy as possible.
Ciders and Beers
Tasmania isn't only perfect for the growing of wine grapes. It's also a great place to grow hops as well as the fruits needed to make some of the world's best ciders. And with an explosion of craft beer brewing on the Australian mainland, Tasmania has never been so important to the country's beer industry. It becomes increasingly more important as climate change wreaks havoc. It's highly advisable that you try some of Tasmania's best alcoholic ciders. These delicious libations are dry, not too sweet and are made from the best apples on planet Earth.
Farm to Table
The abundance of organic agriculture on Tasmania means that you can try some of the best cheeses, butters, dairy products, beef, beer, Leatherwood honey, chocolates, berries, stone fruits, apples, vegetables and wines on the planet. Make sure to find restaurants, chefs and makers that have close ties to farmers in the area. That way you know that you're getting some of the freshest and most nutritious food products around. You can really taste the difference and it's something that will linger in your memory to draw you back to Tasmania in the future.