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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 21st. year of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

San Miguel Duenas, Guatemala

(Pronounced: Sahn Mee-ghell DWAY-nyas, Gwah-te-MAH-lah)

An Incredible Nut Case

Touring a Macadamia Nut Ranch

Currency Conversion Site 

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

We are spending time in an enchanting colonial city of the old Spanish empire, a place called Antigua, Guatemala. From here there are several small mountain towns of interest, easily accessible by bus. Locals kept telling us of an amazing rancho where macadamia nuts are grown, employing many of the families in the area.

We had never seen a 'nut farm' before, and decided to take a look.

 

Lorenzo, owner of Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm

We were immediately greeted by Lorenzo, a colorful character with stories to tell, and the owner of the rancho.

Lorenzo used to be a fireman who injured himself after falling straight to the ground through the roof of a 3 story burning building. Choosing, as he put it, not to 'get on the dole' from the government for his injuries, he found himself in Baja California living on a piece of land in his classic Air Stream trailer.

Life was good.

Having both a curious and productive nature, he was recruited to go to Costa Rica to head up a macadamia nut farm there. As circumstances had it, he was able to obtain free firsthand training from a local university on how to raise macadamia trees. An excellent opportunity!

Eventually he found himself in Guatemala just outside of Antigua on a macadamia nut orchard and in 1979 took it over from a man who could no longer run it.

 

Products of the rancho

We were whisked away to a private table in a corner of the orchard. Moments later we were served pancakes made from macadamia nut flour.  Fresh organic blueberries from his rancho and macadamia nut butter graced the top of this yummy pancake. Honey from Lorenzo's hives and a cup of steaming mountain grown coffee completed this tasty surprise.

Incredible!

While we enjoyed this generous feast, Lorenzo continued with his nutty tale.

 

 

Macadamias growing on the tree

In the world of nuts and berries, macadamia nuts are almost as precious as gold. This tree and its fruit  are astonishingly useful in a variety of ways.

The outer shells of the nut are almost pure carbon so they are ground up and used for power-cleaning buildings, for polishing gems, and are also put in the polymer for the roads built in Guatemala. The green part of the shell under the hard outer covering is used as fertilizer to replenish the soil, and the nut meat is used for food, oil, and cosmetics.

 

Nut yielding flower sprays

Clusters of flowers that are white or pink bloom over a 4 to 6 month period so nuts mature at different times, giving an almost continuous crop. Hundreds of flowers appear in sprays like the ones in the above photo, and each spray produces up to 20 nuts. As the nuts ripen on the trees the outer shells open and the nuts naturally fall to the ground.

 Over 100 pounds of nuts can be harvested from a dozen trees each year.

 

The prized shelled nut meat 

 Lorenzo doesnít graft  and train his trees to create more product from central leader growth. Nor does he use any organic fertilizers or organic pesticides.

Instead, he allows the over 250 different varieties of macadamia trees take care of the insects themselves. In many cases the trees send out pheromones that cause certain insects to come to them cleaning their bark and any other excesses the tree might have. In his opinion, organic fertilizers and organic pesticides just interrupt this natural process.

To protect his blueberries from feasting birds, plates of dog food are positioned all around the organic orchard. Birds are distracted by the ready-to-eat food and leave the blueberries alone. 

Lorenzo is quite an innovator and won a gold medal in Geneva for his environmental work.

 

Indigenous mountain men with their gift of macadamia nut trees

In his creative business fashion, Lorenzo has given macadamia nut trees to the peoples in his area where they cultivate the trees on their own land. He has approximately 350,000 trees all over Guatemala.

Lorenzo's method of growing these seedlings without having them become root bound, allows him to give 50 trees at a time to a family which they then are able to carry back to their land to plant.

These trees reduce the slash and burn culture that is native to them by giving them a sustainable livelihood where they can stay in the same location and harvest from the trees. The trees also provide firewood.

 

Bountiful beneficial fatty acids.

Since these trees give fruit daily, the families who tend them have a daily source of protein for their children. The children have better concentration due to the added protein in their diets and their improvement in school has been noted since Lorenzo started his tree project years ago.

If a nut is not first quality, it is often used as animal feed. And since Guatemala also grows coffee, the shells can be sold as a wood substitute for coffee roasting. These shells are also used by native families to cook their food.

Macadamia nuts are an excellent source of iron, calcium, vitamin B, and phosphorus. Although they contain almost 80% fat, the fat is mono-saturated and as acceptable as olive oil in many diets.

The Adventurer's Guide to Guatemala

Donít go to Guatemala without this book! Take advantage of what we know. Click here

 

Nuts and continuous flower sprays

Lorenzo has cultivated a seedling tree that will flower two years from the seed. Normally a tree would take 3-5 years to flower, so his trees are able to produce in half the time.

A macadamia nut tree can live anywhere from 200 to 500 years. The work Lorenzo is doing by teaching the local population how to maintain and harvest these nuts will be passed on to future generations.

 

A nutty treasure!

The macadamia crop alternates every other year with high and low yields. When the nuts fall to the ground, the natives collect them, bring them back to Lorenzo and he pays the family per pound. All over Guatemala, pounds and pounds of nuts are harvested and brought to Lorenzo.

 

Now what?

Before cracking, roasting, and packaging, macadamias must be sorted by size.

 

Another nutty invention by Lorenzo

This is the sorting machine that Lorenzo invented to easily allow the macadamias to fall into groups of similar scale. Only nuts of equal size can be placed into the machine which will crack off the distinctively hard outer shell. Afterwards, a green husk still remains which must rubbed off by yet another machine.

After sizing, cracking and husking, the nutmeat goes into a dryer, and the oven takes 3-5 days to remove moisture from the nut bringing it to 1.5% humidity by weight.. This is 50% dryer than powdered milk, and is a means of preserving the nutmeat.

Lorenzo processes 6-7 tons of nutmeat a year.

 

A macadamia nut oil facial!

After all this nutty information, we were escorted into a small salon for our free facials. Packed with omega oils, our skin was rejuvenated.

Heaven!

Lorenzo was able to sell his cold pressed macadamia nut oil formula to Lancomb, and you will find it in their anti-aging night creams. Here in Lorenzo's store you are able to purchase chocolates, macadamia cosmetics and nuts, along with organic coffee, macadamia nut recipes and flour.

 

Lorenzo charming his next guests

An inventor extraordinaire, Lorenzo is a creative self-motivated man who focused on helping the indigenous peoples in the area.

Words of wisdom from this man?

If you are going to dream, dream big. It costs the same.

If you are planning a trip to Antigua, Guatemala, make it a point to go to San Miguel Duenas and visit the Valhalla Macadamia nut farm. You won't be disappointed.

*** 

Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm

Tele Office: 502.7831.5799 Farm 502.5899.4925

Email: exvalhalla@gmail.com

www.exvalhalla.net

Emilia Aguirre, Skin Care

Apartado postal 268

Antigua Sac. Guatemala C.A.

Telefax: 502.7831.5799, 5994.6960

For more information, stories and photos of Guatemala, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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