Mango farmer still smiling despite tough few years

Dave Dingle is a mango farmer with a property west of Calliope.
Dave Dingle is a mango farmer with a property west of Calliope. Brenda Strong

IT'S been a tough few years for local farmer Dave Dingle, but the sight of a big ripe mango brings an instant smile to his face.

Dave grows mangoes on his farm west of Calliope, and for the past 10 years he's been bringing them to market - off the back of his truck by the side of the Dawson Hwy.

Demand over the Christmas and holiday season - and the sight of a lush tray of mangoes - keeps the business ticking over.

You wouldn't know from the sight of the healthy fruit that earlier this year that Dave's produce was nearly wiped out.

"We had some dry wind early this year which dried the flowers on the trees and we lost half the crop, but we still have produced some great quality mangoes," he said.

"It's a phenomenal lot of work, but pays off."

The latest damage follows the heartbreaking decision a few years back to dig out half of the trees because of market price fluctuations and flooding around the region.

The decision made the business more manageable, and Dave runs it with plenty of help from his sons, Cameron, 7, Blake, 4, and partner Angela Austin.

They love giving a hand this time of year, picking, cleaning and packing the fruit.

"I love the sweet taste," said Cameron, while Blake, 4, is a self-professed fruit bat, climbing the trees to pick.

Dave suggests his customers give a couple days for ripening when they buy his mangoes, and also recommends peeling them with a vegetable peeler.

Dave used to be a butcher and has looked into other primary production, but reckons his love of mangoes will keep him in the growing business for a long time to come.

Angela loves making mango sweets for her children.

Mango Weis:

Make this delicious dessert with your fresh mangoes - courtesy of Dave's mum!

Ingredients: Tin condensed milk, 600ml cream, 3-4 mangoes

Method: Beat the cream to just before it peaks, add condensed milk and beat until combined. Puree mangoes.

Line a tin with baking paper, spread mango puree on the bottom and cream mixture on the top.

Freeze for several hours, then cut up and enjoy.

Topics:  calliope farming mango rural

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