Nuts in husk and cracked nuts in husk Thyolo Nut Company produces 300 tonnes of edible kernel from 2,500 tonnes of nut in husk. It has 780 hectares of Macadamias at different stages of maturity. The crop increases each year as trees mature. A further 37 tonnes of edible kernel are produced from nuts purchased from orchards owned by surrounding estates. Picker with basket of nuts

Orchard

Flowering starts in July or August depending on weather conditions. The nuts set in the following two months, and reach maturity in January. More than half of the harvest is gathered from the ground and the balance picked from the trees at the end of the harvest season in March.

Nut picker
Dehusking

Dehusking is the mechanical process whereby the fleshy outer covering is removed to reveal the hard shell. This is done immediately after harvesting to prevent loss of condition of the nuts.

The dehusked nut in shell is immediately transported to Conveyer from dehusker drying bins where ambient air is blown over the nuts to reduce the moisture content to below 10%.

Moisture is then further reduced to below 2%, using heated air, to finally prepare the nuts for cracking.

 
Factory Processing

The dry nut in shell is transported to the factory, where it is first passed through a floatation tank for conditioning, after which it is again dried before moving to the cracking process where the hard shell is cracked and removed to produce the edible kernel. Cracked nut & shell fragments emerging from cracker

Each batch of nuts is segregated from other batches and source and processing details of each batch recorded.

Nut in shell is fed into one of four cracker units where the nuts are cracked and the shells sorted and removed. The nuts are then mechanically graded for size.


Sorting conveyer End of sorting line - the saleable kernel A rigorous hand sorting process follows to remove unsound kernel. This is a skilled and labour intensive process carried out under the most stringent hygiene conditions.

The kernel is again mechanically graded into sizes known as styles before passing to the packing Kernels feeding into the bag Packing equipment process.

In the packing department, the edible kernel is electronically weighed and packed in sealed airtight aluminium bags. Before sealing, inert nitrogen gas is introduced into the bags to prevent deterioration of the nuts.

These sealed bags are then boxed ready to be sent by road in shipping containers to the ocean port for export to Europe, the Far East and North America.

Customer Processing

The exported nuts are used by our customers in a variety of ways. Raw and roasted nuts are repacked for sale to the end user. The baking and confectionary industry are major users and oil from kernel, too small for other purposes is used for cooking and in the cosmetics industry
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