While fruit has been available for a number of weeks, Australia’s mango season ramped-up last Thursday with the Brisbane Produce Market Charity Mango Auction.
The annual event has traditionally ushered in the peak season for the country’s mango production, with the auction’s highest bidder crowned Mango King.
Nuccio Camuglia, owner of Fruity Capers in Brisbane Toowong Village, was bestowed the honour this year, bidding A$29,000 for the first tray of Queensland-grown fruit for the season.
“This morning isn’t about me – it’s about the charities that the money is going towards. I know it’s a lot of money, but in my eyes its A$29,000 well spent,” Camuglia explained. “Mango season is one of our favourite times of the year at Fruity Capers.”
Along with the auction, recently crowned boxing world champion Jeff Horn and NRL Legend Sam Thaiday took part in a mango eating competition, albeit wearing boxing gloves.
The event gathered the attention of Australia’s mainstream media, with 20 TV segments and 8 radio mentions dedicated to the auction.
Mango production is well underway in the Northern Territory, with the harvest in Darwin expected to last another week.
Further south in Katherine, some growers have reported storm damage from a recent weather event, which has impacted their overall volume, according to representative body Australian Mango Industry Association. However, other grower’s crops have not been hampered, with the overall forecast for the region still expected to be around 1.6m trays.
“The fruit quality out of Katherine has been exceptional,” Marie Piccone of leading grower-packer-marketer Manbulloo told Produce Plus. “Where happy with the volume on our farms.”
Earlier this year Manbulloo planted an additional 12,500 trees in Katherine, with a further 12,500 to be planted next year.
Back in Queensland, Piccone said Manbulloo are experiencing “exceptionally good volumes per tree.”
The Queensland harvest kicks off in the Bowen/Burdekin region. While some growers in Burdekin are expected to start spot picking in late October, the main harvest is expected to take place from mid-November. Damage from Tropical Cyclone Debbie earlier this year will see a decrease in volume at some farms in this area, although the overall volume looks to be on par with last season.
Following Bowen/Burdekin, the Queensland harvest moves south to Mareeba/Dimbulah, where spot picking is expected to start in late November.
Growers in South East Queensland are expecting reasonable volumes, despite some heavy rain over the past few weeks.