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Magic Mango Visit

On a beautiful clear, sunny day in January we ventured up to the Atherton Tablelands to visit Magic Mango, where we source our organic fruit for our icecream.

Betty with BowensYou have to love these tree ripened beauties

It was a fascinating insight into growing chemical free, full flavoured mangos. We even had a chance to try picking, and Ken shared his wealth of knowledge on this amazing fruit.

Mango PickingA bit of work experience as a mango picker

Did you know?

  • The sap from mangos is very acidic and can create burns and "mango itch"

  • The sap in the stem of a mango is under pressure, and when picked can squirt several metres

  • Mangos are related to Cashews and Pistachios (Anacardiaceae FAMILY), and the skin contains urushiol, an irritant (also found in poison ivy and poison oak

  • Kensington Pride (which Ken grows) are often called Bowen, or Bowen specials. They are a hybrid variety first grown in Bowen, QLD

  • Ken in the Mango OrchardKen in the Mango Orchard

    Ken Bought this farm in 1979, and has been growing and processing mangos ever since. He has seen the ups and downs of the market, and survived them all.

    In the early stages, there was a strong demand for mangos however, with the restructuring of the tobacco industry on the tablelands, a lot of farmers switched to mangos (with government assistance) and it created a glut in the market. By doing things differently, Ken managed the farm through the ups and downs in the market.

    One of the ways Ken's farm remains competitive is by processing every mango they grow. This not only means they create additional value to their produce, but also means they can use a lot more of the fruit. A mango which has minor blemishes on the skin, may be reject on the wholesale market, however the flesh is fine and can be used, if processed on site.

    Freshly harvested MangosRipe mangos, straight from the tree and ready for harvest

    The other benefit of this approach is that they do not need to use chemicals to maintain the aesthetics of the fruit. It makes for a more natural, chemical free, and tastier fruit. The mangos are allowed to ripen on the tree, and develop their full flavour, rather than being picked green for market.

    Ripening on the treeMangos are allowed to ripen on the tree developing full flavour

    Once the fruit is ripe (Ken says the flying foxes let you know pretty quickly that they are) it is processed on site. Ken has developed innovative ways of retrieving the flesh and snap freezing it to retain full flavour. From picking to packaging is a matter of hours.

    Processing ShedThe processing shed, where all the Mango Magic happens

    You can often catch Ken at his roadside stall at Caravonica on weekends.