Hooray for sweet tooths! Mango season is here
IT'S official - mango season is upon us.
Or is it?
Since early this month most Sunshine Coast fruit shops have had mangoes in stock, with the most popular Kensington Pride variety (often known as Bowen) from the Northern Territory dominating the shelves.
But it's a little-known fact that locally-grown mangoes won't be in store until January or February.
And according to Pete Erbacher, of Erbacher's Fruit and Vegetables, the best are yet to come.
"They're not real choice-looking yet but once they come good, they'll sell well," he said.
"We've dropped the price a bit, and as we do that we'll sell more.
"In another couple of weeks the best ones will be here."
While Coast residents' mango trees and those in public parks may soon start bearing fruit, they won't likely mature until after Christmas.
Pinata Farms managing director Gavin Scurr said mangoes sold in shops across the Coast right now would be from the Northern Territory, while north Queensland mangoes will come in season soon, with Coast-grown fruit becoming available as the main picking season tapers off "up north".
Pinata Farms grows Honey Gold mangoes at its Wamuran farm near Caboolture, and at properties it manages in Katherine, NT.
"If someone's on the side of the road making out they're local mangoes they're not being truthful. In January - absolutely - but not now," Mr Scurr said.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy these early season mangoes, though, he says.
"Australians love their mangoes so the longer we can grow them as an industry, the happier customers are."
The Coast's late mango season means local growers can capitalise on high demand for mangoes and the end of the season with up to $3 per mango going to the farmer.
"The only place you can grow them (at that time of year) is down here," Mr Scurr said.
He said it was rare for prices to get above $4 or $5 per mango.
"Once mangoes get over $5 each you've really only got the die-hard fans who will really buy them. Even if there aren't many around."
More than 96 million mangoes are expected to be produced in Australia this year, making it one of the industry's larger crops on record.
Next month mango lovers can expect to see the giant R2E2 varieties hit the shelves, with north Queensland fruit also starting to arrive.