Abysmal sea­son for fruit grow­ers

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

LO­CAL fruit grow­ers are hop­ing the cur­rent spell of cool, dry weather con­tin­ues fol­low­ing an abysmal crop from most of their va­ri­eties over the past 12 months.

“We didn’t have a crop at all for a lot of our fruits,” co-owner of the Botan­i­cal Ark Alan Carle said.

“Our com­mer­cial crops, the man­gos­teen, rambu­tan and durian, they all failed.

“They all pro­duced bumper crops the year be­fore, so you ex­pect it to be a bit light the next year, but we got noth­ing.

“Of the other 200 or so species we have that are ma­ture enough to fruit, prob­a­bly half of them pro­duced a crop.”

Mr Carle said the con­stant wet weather, while pro­mot­ing woody growth, has not pro­duced the stress re­quired to pro­duce bonanza crops.

How­ever, pests are still plen­ti­ful.

“The fly­ing foxes and cock­a­toos have been hun­gry too, so we’re not har­vest­ing as much as we’d like,” Mr Carle said.

North of the Dain­tree River at the Cape Trib Ex­otic Fruit Farm, Ali­son Gotts and her hus­band Digby have been con­tend­ing with a mas­sive in­crease in the num­ber of feral pigs.

“The other night, we had about seven pigs walk straight past the cab­ins,” Ms Gotts said.

The only ex­cep­tion to the lo­cal fruit crop fail­ure has been the calak, or snake fruit.

The fig-sized In­done­sian fruit has been fruit­ing pro­lif­i­cally this year.

Both the Gotts’ and the Car­les have re­ported bumper crops of calak this year.

“We’ve been pick­ing since Novem­ber,” Ms Gotts said.

“It’s the first time we’ve got a crop from them.”

Fam­ily bond­ing: Ger­ard, An­ge­los Snr and Jnr, Lu­cia, and Therese Puglisi pick­ing their co­coa crop

Photo by CHRIS SCOTT

Tough year: lo­cal trop­i­cal fruit grow­ers have strug­gled to har­vest a crop this sea­son

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