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Ian’s keen for mango season

Madeline McDonald | 16th Nov 2015 7:00 PM

SUMMER FRUIT: Ian holds a Honey Gold Mango which will be ready for harvest in the next month.Chris Ison Rokcmango

THERE'S NOTHING Yeppoon's Ian Groves looks forward to more than cutting open the first ripe mango of the season.

The local owner of Groves Grown Tropical Fruit in Bungundarra, who's been in the business for 33 years, is getting prepared for his busiest time of year.

But the taste of this year's mango season will be bitter-sweet for Ian after losing some of his mango crop last year following Cyclone Marcia.

Ian, 60, said although he lost half of his late mango crop, it could have been worse.

"The mango season starts in Darwin and works its way down to us around December to mid-January," he said.

"The late mango season is in February and normally lasts until March so we were in the middle of a season when Marcia came through. I'm currently replanting avocado trees that we lost and still have some sheds to rebuild but we were extremely fortunate to still have a mango crop.

"We did lose some mango trees, about half of the late mango crop and 90% of our avocado crops so we lost about $400,000 worth of fruit but all the mango trees that remained standing have produced which is fantastic. If Marcia had of come mid-December we would have been a lot worse."

But the tough times are in the past for Ian who is counting on a good mango season with the expectation of selling 20,000 cartons of mangoes in the following months.

"There's almost a cult following for mangoes these days,"  he said.

"There's an awful lot of interest in the mango season all over Australia and they are a fruit people buy by the cartoon if they're cheap enough. We should do around 20,000 cartons around the Christmas period which is average to good.

"We'll probably do another 10,000 cartons in February so it should be a good season. The lychee season starts in 10 days and overlaps the mangoes with starfruit season starting in March, we then have avocados over winter and start the fruit cycle all over again.

"We sell mangoes by the truckload to lots of places in Australia and even overseas so I'm expecting a good return this year and a busy season."

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