'Hook into them': Mango season has arrived
MANGOS are the quintessential Aussie fruit in summer time and they're beginning to come into season around the Gladstone region.
A handful of shops around town have fresh trays from the Northern Territory ready to be bought and devoured.
Mango season generally begins during September in the NT and wraps up in southern states around March or April, where late season varieties take over the shelves.
There are many different varieties of mangos in Australia, although the Kensington Pride, also known as the famous Bowen mango when grown in that region of north Queensland, is the most popular.
Other varieties include the Calypso, Honey Gold, R2E2 (no, not the Star Wars character), Palmer, Keitt, Pearl, Kent and Brooks.
Night Owl Gladstone recently took delivery of early season Kensington Pride mangos, which are sourced from Berry Springs, 35 minutes outside of Darwin.
Store manager Joelene Willis is responsible for ordering the convenience store's produce and was excited to have the popular fruit back in stock.
"They're a pretty good price for this early and are delicious so hook into them while you can,” she said.
"Berry Springs are the first lot that comes down. They're the first big pick from the markets.
"At the moment they are the only ones available unless you want to pay big bucks.
"Northern Territory are the only ones at the moment that are picking decent - Bowen won't be picking for another couple of weeks.
"It's hard to pick out an exact date, it just depends what conditions are like.”
The NightOwl Gladstone team are also planning to source locally when conditions are more suitable.
"We hook into the local farms around here which do mangos but they won't be in until before Christmas, usually October or November,” Ms Willis said.
"There's one at Yarwun and a couple of local guys who we pull the big R2E2's off every year.”
Australian Mango Industry Association director for Southern Queensland and New South Wales Karl Gygar says the new 2017/18 mango season is shaping up to be even better than last season.
"The 2016/17 mango season was one of the best seasons in terms of quality and volume,” Mr Gygar said.
"Industry standards implemented across the supply chain will see 2017/18 producing even better quality throughout the season.
"Healthy volumes across all growing regions are forecast and early season fruit out of the Northern Territory is proving to be of a high standard, eating well, and, with this beautiful spring weather is bringing an early taste of summer to consumers.”
As far as locally sourced mangos are concerned, Mr Gygar expects mangos to be picked from December through to February in the Central Queensland district.
"Central Queensland has a proud history of growing mangoes,” he said.
"Growers can be found from Yeppoon and Rockhampton in the north through to Yarwun, Gladstone and all the way down the coast.
"There are a number of growers in the Gladstone region.
"The predominant varieties grown in the region are Kensington Pride, R2E2, Honey Gold and Keitt.
"However given the fantastic growing conditions in the region there are a number of other varieties grown including Calypso, Pearl, Palmer and some of the green eating varieties.”
Such is the popularity of the mango, the Brisbane Produce Market holds its annual Mango Charity Auction every October at Rocklea.
Over the past five years $200,000 has been raised for charity with a tray of Bowen's fetching $76,000 in 2012.
This year's event will feature a couple of iconic Queenslanders in Brisbane Broncos veteran Sam Thaiday and 2017 WBO welterweight title winner Jeff Horn, who will go toe-to-toe in a mango eating competition which is sure to pack a punch.
- Mangos were first grown in India over 5000 years ago
- Mango seeds travelled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D.
- Mangos are considered the king of fruits because they're so popular in many parts of the world, including India, Asia and Central and South America
- Mangos are related to cashews and pistachios
- A mango tree can grow as tall as 100 feet (30m).
- You can't tell if a mango is ripe based on colour, so check the fruit's firmness instead
- Squeeze gently to judge ripeness
- A ripe mango will give slightly and a firm mango will ripen at room temperature over a few days
- To speed up ripening, place mangos in a paper bag at room temperature
- Once ripe, mangos can be moved to the refrigerator to slow down ripening for several days
- Mangos have natural tenderising properties, making them a perfect ingredient for marinades.
- Mangos provide 100% of your daily vitamin C, 35% of your daily vitamin A and 12% of your daily fibre
- Their bright orange or yellow pulp is a cue that mangos are rich in carotenoids that are beneficial for maintaining healthy vision.
(Sources: Mango.org and Livestrong.com).