Han Shiong Siah Durian

Han Shiong Siah, copyright Fruitnet (taken 2019)

Northern Territory tropical fruit producer, Tropical Primary Products (TPP), has heralded the start of its durian season, with its fruit sent to established markets in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as making its debut in Perth, Western Australia.

Grower and agronomist, Han Shiong Siah (pictured), told ABC Rural the season has been shaping up nicely so far, with a mild dry season producing strong yields.

'All of our fruit is tree-ripened, we collect them off the ground each morning, they're fragrant and you just know they're ready to go,' he said.

'The crop is looking much better this year. We're expecting close to 20 tonnes of fruit compared to just 5 tonne last year.”

Tropical and exotic fruit sales manager for Mercer Mooney in Perth, Cameron Perna, said the arrival of durians from the Northern Territory was a big moment for his company.

'It was a little bit daunting, we got 800kg of durian in one hit and had constant thoughts of 'Is this going to sell?' Perna explained to ABC Rural.

'But it took us just three days to sell it. Our first pallet from the NT arrived on Monday and by Thursday it was all gone. It was a real highlight,' he added.

Perna said Canning Vale Markets had a history of buying durians from Queensland but never from the NT, and never in such large quantities.

'This was a record for WA,' he said. 'We normally get 200–300kg at a time from Queensland, which gets air-freighted to WA.

'Everyone here in the markets knows what that smell is now, and they come looking. The smell attracts the people, it's not deterring them,” added Perna.

The exotic and tropical fruit category in Perth is exploding in popularity, according to Perna. 'I've got another pallet of [NT] durian landing this Friday and pretty much half of it has already pre-sold,' he said.

'There's a lot more demand now for these different fruits.All of the sapotes are selling well, soursop, rambutans, lychees as well. They're different, seasonal, and selling well,” he concluded.