Warm winter turns mangoes into grapes
By Caddie Brain
Updated Tue 14 Jan 2014, 2:18pm AEDT
It's been the worst season on record for Central Australia's only mango farm at Ti Tree, 190 kilometres north of Alice Springs.
The overall yield at Red Centre Farm was just one third of what it usually is.
Owner John Crayford, better known as 'Johnny Mango' says a mild winter and humid conditions caused the fruit to ripen early, when it was "the size of grapes".
"It's a bit unfortunate,
but that's farming."
John Crayford, Red Centre Farm
"I've never had a season like it," Mr Crayford said.
"The mangoes didn't grow like they're supposed to.
"They were ripe at about 50 per cent growth."
"I picked probably around 18 pallets; I usually pick around 60."
Red Centre Farm has 2000 mango trees, predominately the Kensington Pride variety.
Mr Crayford says he supplied no mangoes to southern markets this year, selling all his fruit locally into Alice Springs for about $25 a box.
"I look after the locals first," he said.
"If I sent them south I don't get any more money for them.
"The season was a bit unfortunate, but that's farming."
The overall Northern Territory mango yield is down by half, with just two million trays produced.