Saturday, 16 December 2017

Everett's Lychee Farm at Mareeba, and Rusty's Market in Cairns, they've got it covered

We drove up the range to the Atherton Tableland from Cairns, which is inland and to the West, in search of the best Lychees and Mangoes, at the best price we could find. Lychees are at the height of the season right now, and Summer of 2017 has been a good season, as it has also been for Mangoes. Mareeba is the food bowl of the Tablelands, and as we approached the thriving township, we discovered Everett's lychee farm, marketed as F.N.Q Lychee. We drove through rows and rows of lychee trees covered in nets to protect them from the Flying Foxes and the birds and came to the distribution and sorting centre where there is an ordinary refrigerator storing  bags of Grade One lychees, and bags of seconds, all for sale to the public.

We bought a 5 kg bag of Grade One lychees which mostly had very small seeds, always a very strong selling point for lychees and they are delicious, we are still eating them. They were $8.00 a kilo, a good price for the best lychees available. There is a slight variation of flavour amongst them though as we discovered that in each bag there are a few different varieties: Fay Zee Sui, Taiso, Kiamana, and Soui Tung. All very juicy and delicious. We were told that large trucks arrive daily to transport hundreds of kilos south to the interstate Markets, and to Rusty's markets in Cairns. However, Rusty's only want the Seconds to sell to the public, which means it is then up to the consumer at the markets to sort through them and choose the best ones they can find. Everett's take great pride in the quality of their lychees as they are very serious commercial producers, and would  prefer for Rusty's to be buying their top quality lychees. However we have also bought lychees from the markets and they were fine. This saves Everetts from having to discard the lychees which aren't top quality.

F.N.Q Lychee is located at:
M & J Everett
209 Malone Rd
Mareeba, 4880
Phone: 07 4093 3120

Surely we don't always need to be buying the top quality in fresh produce if it saves us a few dollars.It doesn't have to look perfect to taste good. We found some 2nd grade lychees at Rusty's last weekend for $5 a kilo, a saving of $3.00 a kilo. By Sunday, the last day of the market, they may cost even less.

Whilst in the area, we saw this Strawberry Bowen Mango tree. The mangoes were a beautiful purple colour which we hadn't seen before. Unfortunately there didn't seem to be any for sale.

Rusty's Market in the centre of Cairns is a must to visit from Friday to Sunday, because if it isn't at Rusty's it just isn't grown in the region. I'll let the photos mostly do the talking however it is always fascinating to explore the bountiful produce on sale in this huge barn. I took photos of some of the more rare fruits and vegetables as well so that I can do some homework and discover what I can actually do with them in my kitchen. We will be staying with our daughter in Cairns until after Christmas so there will be more trips to Rusty's as it is the only place to shop for the fresh stuff.

Backpackers make a meal of it as well, as there are lots of plates of samples available, so a cheap and healthy breakfast is available if you have the time to wander around and sample. We haven't done that  for breakfast though. There are lots of delicious cooked foods available by some very clever people and that could be another story in the future.

 Very delicious and ripe Bowen mangoes. Ready to eat.

These ones are mostly still green and should ripen in a week.

I bought a loaf of the Dark Rye Sour Dough bread and enjoyed it. This artisan baker makes hundreds of loaves each weekend for the markets as many customers now prefer the health benefits of unrefined flour and sourdough.

I was quite fascinated by the very large Bamboo shoots in the shape of Rhinoceros horns from Innisfail, just south of Cairns. I'm not sure what to do with them though, ha, ha. Any ideas?

Dragonfruit  are delicious and very colourful, when peeled, sliced and served with a cheese platter.

Who doesn't love large bunches of exotic flowers such as the Heliconias, Strelitzias and Gingers. they look so perfect.

I've never eaten Jackfruit, have you?

Daikon can be used to make fermented Kimchi.

Amongst all of this excitement in the Far North, we have also been cat sitting our daughter's cat, Nala. Nala is a pedigree Tonkinese, which is a cross between a Siamese and a Burmese breed of cat. Shannon found her as a Rescue cat, and she initially was extremely shy and timid with us, however she is becoming used to us now. When we first met her, she would spend most of her time under the bed. Whilst she still doesn't like to be cuddled much, she is happy to be stroked and patted particularly around feeding time, and is a proximity cat,  always just sitting a little bit away from us. She loves her food.

Here is a photo of Nala. She is allowed outside for a play in the mornings and the afternoons.

Isn't she beautiful?

This is the photo of the pool in our daughter's Unit complex that we swim in most days and that we look out onto when we have our breakfast and morning coffee. It is such a welcome respite from the tropical heat. Nala generally sits by the pool as we swim and keeps us company. She loves to be by water as long as she isn't in it.

Stay safe my friends and I hope all is going well in your world. Thanks for dropping by.

Bye for now



  1. Pauline, what a great market! I would give the dragonfruit and bitter gourds a miss though as I don't like the taste of either :-) I think a pool would be essential if you loved up there. We had lychees growing once but I have no idea what happened to them.

    1. You would be doing very well to grow lychees in Toowoomba Chel. Hope the week teats you well. Pauline

  2. All of our lychees this year were picked and flung to the ground when they were still green! We have a couple of dragon fruit ripening. I love rustys market and there is always something unusual to try. I am growing cassava to create a bit of shade in my food forest - so easy to grow, you just stick a stalk into the ground!. The root needs to be boiled and then can be roasted or mashed; the last lot I tried was a bit woody, maybe I left it too long to harvest.. I would be interested to see what you do with that bamboo shoot - it looks a bit strange and unappetizing like that. Enjoy your time in Cairns, and Happy Christmas!

  3. Thanks africanaussie. Happy Christmas to you as well.

  4. Hi Pauline
    Must be so hot up there this time of year. Don’t those purple mangoes look amazing? Yum to lychees. Such a tasty fruit. Nala is so pretty. An unusual looking cat. Cheers S.

  5. Thanks Sherry. Nala certainly has the looks:)

  6. The market looks great, with so many fresh produce. Did you buy bamboo shoots?
    I love jackfruit. I bought a piece several days ago, but it was a bit too ripe for cooking. It's rare to find fresh jackfruit at stores here.
    Enjoy your time in Cairns, and merry Christmas!


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