Meet the “Mango Wrangler”, aka Dave, Our Head Mango Grower | Blog
As we head into mango season, we headed up to Darwin for a chat with our “Chief Mango Wrangler” Dave Rutherford to find out a bit more about the man who grows our early-season R2E2 and Kensington Pride mangoes – including our Mr KP Mangoes!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I’ve been with Red Rich Fruits and working this orchard (and several others) for about a year now. We’ve got about 4000 trees on the Darwin River property; a mixture of KP’s and R2E2s. The older parts of the orchard are only about 15 years old, and some of the trees were only planted last year. My background’s not mangoes – in fact it’s probably not even horticulture. I’ve been running livestock at cattle stations for a fair few years now and I can’t tell you exactly how I got into mangoes, but it seems to be working out alright for me, and I’m enjoying it.
How does mango farming compare to running livestock?
It’s similar in a way. The trees have become the breeders, and the mangoes have become the calves, lambs or foals or whatever we used to have, and you look at them and take quite a bit of pride in watching them grow and fill out. It’s very rewarding to see the tree flush and flower, and the fruit to grow and for the fruit to hold on the tree because they can be very temperamental! They’re not the easiest crop to grow – that’s probably why they’re so good!
Who lives on the orchards with you?
My wife and 4 kids live on one of the other orchards with me. My wife also works full time for the company and the kids help out where they can. It’s been a big change for them too but they’re enjoying it I think.
What’s the mango crop looking like this year?
The crop this year is looking pretty good. There’s a lot of fruit on the trees but there’s a range in the crop so it looks like it’s going to be a long season. We’ve got everything here from fresh flower to fruit we’re picking today and when you’re looking at about 100 days from flower to fruit, that’s probably what the spread of our season’s going to be. I’ve never seen a dry season fluctuate as much as this one has in the Territory – you can tuck under a doona two nights in a row, then wake up too hot on the third! We’ve had a real change in the weather and I don’t think it matters what we’ve done to the trees this year to help them along, the weather’s been a huge factor.
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