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{ What better way to celebrate Australia Day than with home grown fresh fruits! }

What better way to celebrate Australia Day than with home grown fresh fruits! Two Queensland farmers Gavin Scurr and Liz Hirst share their tips for choosing your fruit and how to serve it this summer.

Buying your fresh fruit from growers like Liz and Gavin also means you are supporting sustainable farming practices. They are combatting climate change predictions through their efforts to make the most of solar systems and rainwater usage, learn more about their farms by checking out their profiles at the end of this article.

Buying the tastiest fruit:

Finding good fruit at the market or supermarket is sometime tricky, here are some tips from the experts:

  • If you are buying produce which is in season it will be generally be pretty fresh and sometimes is only a few days since picking.
  • It’s best to buy fruit which is still firm and allow it to ripen for 1 or 2 days in the fruit bowl, that way you will be able to eat it at its most perfect point.
  • For fruit like pomelo, passion fruit and melon which have thick skins and where it is difficult to tell whether they are ripe, gently push or squeeze the bottom of the fruit – that’s where it will soften first as it ripens.
  • Each fruit has it’s own way of telling you when its ready, so as you start to experiment with new fruits, start to learn about what these are.
  • Pineapples do not continue to ripen after picking, so when they arrive in store, a day or so after being hand-picked, they are ready to eat. Buy pineapples with fresh-looking skin and a sweet, pleasant aroma. Eat within seven days – the fresher the better.
  • Look for strawberries which are firm and plump with a bright, glossy colour and fresh-looking green caps. Strawberries are best enjoyed within a few days of purchase and stored uncovered in a colander in the refrigerator so that cold air can circulate around them.

Gavin’s Summer Fruits Serving Suggestions

5 fresh ways to enjoy summer fruit:

  1. Assemble a rainbow-coloured fruit platter. Start with triangles of Mareeba Gold pineapples and slices of Honey Gold mangoes fanned around the platter. Intersperse with slices of kiwifruit, wedges of orange and watermelon and top with blueberries and Piñata strawberries.
  2. Halve a Mareeba Gold pineapple, cut out the fruit and dice. Refill the shells with diced pineapple, diced Honey Gold mango and whole Piñata strawberries. Sprinkle over fresh mint and drizzle of orange juice for zest
  3. Make fruit kebabs! Alternate whole Piñata strawberries and grapes with wedges of Mareeba Gold pineapple and squares of rockmelon and thread onto wooden skewers.
  4. To make fruit popsicles, finely dice Piñata strawberries, Mareeba Gold pineapples and Honey Gold mangoes, spoon evenly into a popsicle tray, add a juice of choice and popsicle sticks and freeze.
  5. Make your own frozen yoghurt fruity snack. Dip diced Piñata strawberries and Mareeba Gold pineapples in Greek-style natural yoghurt and freeze.

Liz’s Summer Berry Mango Mix Up

Fruit salad is one of those wonderfully versatile dishes that you can have for breakfast, lunch or pudding and can easily modify to suit your mood.

The trick to making a delicious fruit salad is to find a blend of textures (smooth, juicy and crunchy) and flavours. In my opinion the best salads combine sweetness (like mango, peaches, nectarines) and acidity (berries, pineapple, lime) to give you contrasting flavours which bring out the best of your fruit. The recipe below is one of my favourites using fruits that are readily available. If you are able to source some more unusual fruits, the ones below provide an interesting complement to a basic fruit salad.

1 ripe but firm mango
10 strawberries
1/2 punnet raspberries, blueberries or both
2 white nectarines or peaches
1 banana or a few ladies fingers bananas
3 passionfruit or 1/2 pomegranate
1/2 fresh lime

Chop all the fruit except for the passion fruit and pomegranate into chunks and mix in a bowl. Halve the passionfruit/pomegranate and spoon into the bowl, stir until it is mixed throughout. Squeeze over the fresh lime and serve on its own or with an addition of natural yoghurt with honey or ice-cream for an indulgence

Exotic fruit variations to add:

Black Sapote – chocolate pudding fruit. Black Sapote have quite a subtle flavour but the fruit looks just like rich chocolate pudding and has a wonderfully smooth texture. It is very high in vitamin c and has three times the amount of an orange and is also pretty high in vitamin A, which is a good fat burner. It can also help with digestion. We have 35 Black Sapote trees at Wildwood and when they are ripe we are inundated with the green fruit.

Rollinia – one of my favourite fruits in the world, Rollinia is native to South America and is a relative to the custard apple, sugar apple and soursop, but far more delicious. Rollinia has an exquisite flavour which can be compared with a less sweet version of lemon curd or some describe it as lemon meringue pie – but it’s certainly not that sweet. It is very smooth and has a lovely tartness to compliment its sweetness. It goes perfectly with the salad above. Simply cut into the fruit and spoon out the fruit. Look out for it between August to February time. Incredible if you can find it and it’s often the favourite fruit of our guests at Wildwood.

Grumichama berries – they complement the other berries in this salad really well. They are very juicy and slightly tangy and are actually starting to become an endangered species because of their slow growing and low seed dispersal rate.

Mangosteens – they are so perfect in their own right and are very expensive that they are often best enjoyed on their own. If you want to splash out add 6-8 mangosteens to the salad above. Squeeze the fruit to break into it and then take out each of the white segments. Each one has a small stone in it. Mangosteens are great for you and are high in antioxidants (xanthones), high in antibacterial and anti fungal properties as well as a good source of Vitamin C.

Liz Hirst, Tropical Fruit, Wildwood, Cape Tribulation, QLD

Wildwood is set on 15 acres of private World Heritage rainforest and is just 10 minutes walk from Cape Tribulation beach and amenities. Wildwood has a large orchard with over 800 rare and exotic fruit trees where guests can explore and pick their own fruit – mangosteen, soursop, jaboticaba, rambutan and many more. The orchards and gardens are frequently visited by cassowaries, countless birds, frogs and butterflies.

Wildwood is located in Cape Tribulation, the largest community in Australia not connected to the grid. One of the first things Liz did when she moved to the farm was upgrade the solar system and maximise rainwater intake.

Farming responsibly and minimising Wildwood’s carbon footprint are important to Liz, as unpredictable seasons brought on by climate change have an impact on the types of fruit Wildwood can produce.

Gavin Scurr – Pineapples, Mangoes and Strawberries, Wamuran, QLD

Piñata Farms is a proud Queensland family business with origins dating back to the 1960s in the state’s south-east. Founded by pineapple farmer Geoff Scurr at Wamuran, Piñata Farms is now operated by Geoff’s sons, Gavin and Stephen Scurr. Piñata Farms is the largest pineapple producer in Australia, one of the largest strawberry producers and holds the breeding rights to grow specialty Honey Gold mangoes, produced in every mainland state except South Australia.

Whilst the Pinata Farm property on the Sunshine Coast hinterland gets enough rain for the crop without needing to irrigate, Gavin highlights the importance of farming responsibly as climate change predictions forecast rising temperatures and extreme rainfall events. By supporting growers like Gavin, people can play their part in ensuring farmers can continue to provide Australians with nourishing, quality fruit for generations to come.


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