PROUD AS PUNCH: Grantham hobby farmer Ken Arndt with his latest roselle crop.
PROUD AS PUNCH: Grantham hobby farmer Ken Arndt with his latest roselle crop. Lachlan McIvor

Ken's giant rosella crop producing the goods

HOBBY farmer Ken Arndt has been growing rosella for five years but he believes his latest crop might just be his best yet.

It has just about risen over his head and, although he has grown them that high before, the abundance and quality of the fruit is only getting better.

He turns the fruit into jam through an intensive process of peeling and boiling it.

A single batch takes between five and six hours to complete.

"Back when I was young, all the old grandmas always used to make rosella jam,” Mr Arndt said.

"Not one person around this Lockyer Valley I know that makes rosella jam now.

"I'm the only silly bugger that still does it.

"Don't plant them back in the same ground twice - they get a disease, they get root rot or something and die. You have to put them in a different place every time you replant.”

He had sold all but one of the 40 jars he had made up out the front of his Grantham property as of last Wednesday.

"A few jars I kept myself because it was such a good batch,” he laughed.

He said not many people were aware of what rosella was but visitors who stopped to check it out were amazed by the height of the crop and how it was loaded with fruit.

"There was someone from Wyreema. She knew what they were, she came from Sweden originally,” Ken's wife Frances said.

"She grew them but she reckons they never grew like Ken's. She was flat out (to have enough fruit) to make any jam.”

Mr Arndt believes the flood water from the 2011 floods, which also demolished the family home, has allowed his produce to flourish.

He's grown oversized pumpkins, beans and bananas in the past and has a "bit of everything” on his property.

"Somewhere along the line I seem to be lucky or something... I reckon it's just beautiful soil,” he said.



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