My second trip to Cairns within the last 16 months took place during the latter part of October and early November, and as a seller of Rare Fruits in the Sydney Markets, I was once again amazed at how the fruits had progressed since then.

During the first week, I stayed with Deidre and Bruno Scomazzon at Mossman for a few days. I must admit I really became a jakfruit connoiseur thanks to Bruno. I was very impressed with the flavour of the jaboticaba, grumichama, an excellent white sapote and their seven varieties of pawpaws.

Next stop was Jean and Verner Cyzan who grow the delectable star apple; this fruit has proved very successful with fruit shops in Sydney.

Then a quick drop-in to Diana Cilento who, on our arrival was holding a wonderful soursop specimen. I was very envious of her black sapote tree. Then to Colleen and Joe Pellizzari who have a wonderful experimental crop of (that one I am not mentioning), then back to Yorkeys Knob for a day's rest.

Renata and Red Jenkins of Mareeba have a wonderful crop of black passionfruit, the size and flavour excellent. Here I tried an excellent large guava; this variety has not been marketed, but I feel it has very good potential.

The second week was slightly marred by torrential rain, however, I managed to spend a wonderful day with Ivy and Joe Zappala and family. It was a shame the abius were not at maturity stage, but I have been promised samples from Joe when they are available. I must admit I was disappointed at not being able to taste the fruit then, but Ivy's cooking and wonderful paintings made up for it.

Several days during the fortnight were spent with my very good friends Alice and Arnth Sorensen. Their pomelo crop is looking very healthy along with the sapodillas, mangos, jakfruit, carambola and the marang which we are hoping to put to market early next year.

The final destination was Jean and Mick Thompson's place at Minia Bay: what a wonderful property and the excellent management and presentation of their fruit is very obvious. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Luck was on my side - Mick found a few rambutans still on the trees which I can assure you didn't last long and I thoroughly enjoyed the chilled rollinia served by Jean.

There are a few little comments I would like to make. It was very obvious that the lychee crop was at least 2 to 3 weeks later this season, and it is for the good of the growers as well as the fruit agents and particularly the buying public, that fruit be sent to market when fully matured, so that we can get more people eating lychees, as each year larger quantities are being marketed. I was also disappointed at the poor quality of some fruits which are being sold in the local bazaars. Tourists are flocking to Cairns and surrounding areas, not only from overseas but also from interstate, and it is essential that these visitors try the best varieties of these fruits, as they are your customers of the future, and we want them to be asking their local fruit shops to stock all these wonderful fruits. I would like to take this opportunity to make my apologies to David Higham and Paul Briggs and others that I didn't have the time to see due to a slight bout of ill health.

For a most enjoyable and educational trip my thanks to Deidre and Bruno Scomazzon and Alice and Arnth Sorensen. I would also like to mention the interest and hospitality that was shown to me by other growers in the area. I am very proud to be associated with some of the Rare Fruit Council's members and of having the opportunity to market many new varieties of fruit. I know it is a challenge on both our parts.

By Gwen Koudelka
Exotic Fruit Traders - Sydney Markets

DATE: January 1986

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