TWO of Bundaberg's macadamia growers joined a host of producers from around the country and a group of celebrity chefs in Sydney this week to celebrate 40 years of commercial growing.
Commercial production of the Australian nut started in 1974, when the Australian Macadamia Society, the industry body for growers, was first established.
Scott Allcott and Peter Zadro were at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday at a national media event, attended by celebrity chefs including Adriano Zumbo, Kylie Kwong, MKR's Karen Martini and Giovanni Pilu.
Mr Allcott migrated to Australia from Zimbabwe in 1997 and has been in the industry for a decade.
He manages more than 250,000 trees through his business Macadamia Farm Management in Bundaberg and has extensive experience in rejuvenating mature orchards and improving kernel quality through specific handling system modifications.
He said the past 20 years had seen a tremendous growth in Bundaberg, which now accounted for about 30% of domestic crop and employed hundreds of people in the community.
"Bundaberg is a relatively new growing region for macadamias, with the majority of planting starting around 2003, but it is also the fastest growing region for macadamia production," Mr Allcott said.
"We're the second largest macadamia producing region in Australia and at the current rate of production, are set to be the main producing region in the next few years."
Mr Zadro is a member of Bundaberg's Zadro family, the largest macadamia producers in the world, with more than 2428ha of plantations in Australia and South Africa.
He is an IT and industrial relations expert and has been involved with the industry since 2005.
His father, Phil Zadro, is an industry pioneer, and started in the industry in 1980.
Australian Macadamias CEO Jolyon Burnett said the phenomenal global success of the industry was all thanks to talented people like Mr Allcott and Mr Zadro.
"We're lucky to have growers who are passionate about innovation, quality and sustainability and constantly invest in research and development to produce the best quality, best tasting macadamias in the world," he said.
Macadamias first evolved on the north east coast of the country more than 60,000 years ago.