Jaimie Sweetman is Head Gardener of the Edible Forest located on the Yarra Valley Estate in Dixons Creek. There are regular tours of the Edible Forest, often led by Jaimie – read more and book your place on a future tour.
The maqui berry, or Chilean wineberry (Aristotelia chilensis), is one of the unassuming plants in our edible forest due to its small berries and the fact that it’s not well known in Australia. It originates from South America.
The plant is a small tree (up to 4 metres) which grows well in full sun amongst other plants. It apparently won’t tolerate a high frost but it does well in our forest even with some frost.
The berries are so small that they do take a bit to harvest but they apparently have more antioxidants than blueberries, which makes it worth it. They taste almost eucalyptus-like to me (Wikipedia says that they taste like blackberries). They can be eaten fresh, ground up and used as a spice, or used as a super food powder.
Over time I am becoming more in love with this special plant. I highly recommend it if you can find a seedling to buy. Unfortunately one of ours blew over in the wind and this is why planting two and having cuttings available is always worth it when a plant may not be easily sourced.
Even as I write this, I feel that I need to know more. So, I’ll do some research and then hopefully add to this article.