Isn’t it the quintessential summer fruit? Sinking teeth into the flesh of a mango, juices everywhere, seems to be as much part of the hot summer experience as plunging into ocean waves (often the best idea after eating one).

According to Will Everest, it’s a good season. ‘It’s because of the earlier dry’, he explains. ‘Our trees are just laden with them.’ Will guesses there are about 600 of those trees on the hilly family farm behind Murwillumbah, and about seven varieties. It’s Kensington Prides now but soon will come those mammoth R2E2’s, then the Valencia, Princess and Keats. ‘Our north-facing dry hills are really conducive to flowering’, he explains, ‘which is crucial to mango-growing.’

These trees were planted about 40 years ago by a neighbour, who eventually sold the property to the Everest family. ‘We weren’t into mangos,’ Will says, ‘but we inherited them.’  At this time of year it’s all hands on deck to assist with the picking – offspring, relatives. ‘It’s a big job and it’s all on mountains’, he tells me. ‘We took 65 crates the other day, and six people were required.’

I want to know what happens to the excess, given so many trees, such a good season and such an abundance of the fruit. ‘A quarter of our crop will go on to the ground’, Will says. ‘The cows eat them.’

The cows like mangos too? This is beautiful news to me – just the image makes me smile – but it gets better, because they not only love and eat the mangos but the excess bananas too.  ‘These are happy cows!’ Will says – of course they are!

No sprays or chemical dyes are used on the mangos either. ‘We pick them then sell them – no storage’, Will says. ‘It’s tropical fruit time!’

Everest Farm is at New Brighton every Tuesday from 8 – 11am and at Mullumbimby every Friday from 7 – 11am


Victoria Cosford