Bowl of exotic tropical fruit used for the fruit tasting Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm at Cape Tribulation
Bed and Breakfast accommodation on the edge of the Daintree Rainforest  at Cape Tribulationand white-lipped tree frog
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About Alison and Digby Gotts - Cape Tribulation

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May 1999
Mar 1999

May 1999 NEWSLETTER

CYCLONE RECOVERY – growing shoots everywhere
WEATHER – it’s been a little wet, to say the least
FRUIT – what’s flowering, what’s being harvested
FRUIT TASTING- what’s on
FARM ACTIVITIES- a time for slashing, pruning and planting
RECIPE OF THE MONTH  - Breadfruit Chips with Hot Spicy Lime Pickle.


CYCLONE RECOVERY – growing shoots everywhere

The clean-up continues. Extensive rainfall during March and April has made it difficult to get the tractor around the orchard and large stacks of dead branches are waiting for collection, once the ground dries out a bit more.

The new shoots on the trees are amazing and very morale boosting. The breadfruit grove has so many new shoots that we expect that in 12 months it could be back to its former glory of pre-cyclone Rona. Even the Soursops which we just left lying horizontally on the ground with their roots exposed have started sending up vertical shoots from the main trunk on the ground. We have gone along with a chainsaw and cut of the main trunk leaving about half a metre of stump.

The seedling Abiu stumps have also reshot and we are planning to plant small grafted abius next to each stump with the intention of grafting onto one of the suckers coming out of the stump. We are not sure how this will work but it may also work for the Durians which have been cut off below the graft.

One of the Black Sapotes which is heavily laden with a crop about to ripen was knocked over during the cyclone and it has just continued to grow on its side. This will make the fruit very easy to reach!

I have posted some cyclone recovery photos on our web site, which were taken during April

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WEATHER – it’s been a little wet, to say the least

Facts and Figures provided by Gail and Cliff Truelove at the Pilgrim Sands Weather Centre, Cape Tribulation, operating since 1982.

March

The total rainfall for March was 1439.7mm, more than the January and February totals combined, the wettest day being 14th March with 390mm. The average rainfall for March over the past 17 years has been 732mm, so it was well above average. The hottest day was 7th March at 34.5 C and the coldest day was 15th March at 23 C.

April

The total rainfall for April was 1251.8mm. The April rainfall average is only 547.6, so we have had more than double the monthly average this month. The wettest day was the 9th April with 177mm.

The yearly rainfall average for Cape Trib is 3854.3mm. We had received this amount of rainfall in 1999 by the 20th April. Our progressive total from January 1 to April 30, 1999 is 4120.4mm. The only other April to exceed one metre of rainfall since 1982 was in 1986. We have had 103 wet days out of 106 for the first four months.

The hottest day was 6th April with 32 C, the coldest day was 23rd April at 23 C.

The maximum temperatures have varied between 23-32 C, the minimum temperatures from 21-26 C.

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FRUIT – what’s flowering, what’s being harvested

The Black Sapote crop is nearly ready to pick. We know this because the honey eaters are spending all of their daylight hours in the tops of the trees fighting over the fruit. There is so little fruit for the birds in the Cape Trib Valley after the cyclone so we are happy enough to provide them with a fastfood outlet. The quantity seems the same as last year.

We are picking Soursops but the quantity is limited and we barely have enough to provide for the fruit tasting. They are very small and there will not be enough to pulp for icecream this season.

The Breadfruit trees are starting to flower which is rather unusual. Normally they would have just finished a crop and would not flower until October. Now it seems that we will have a crop ready to pick in September.

Amazingly we are still finding the odd Jakfruit around and we are able to still offer Jakfruit on the tasting during the last weeks of April and the early May.

The bananas have finally started to flower. This means that we will have fruit in about 3 months. It has been difficult to get used to living in a banana free zone – no banana smoothies. Abius are also just starting to flower.

We have a small Carambola crop which is being damaged by Fruit Sucking Moths while it is still green on the tree. Picking the green fruit and leaving it on the verandah to ripen has brought the Fruit Sucking Moths onto the verandah and they have tried to suck the fruit through the netting which is covering the basket. The weight of the moths on the netting causes it to sag onto the fruit – currently the moths are winning – we need to change our storage.

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FRUIT TASTING- what’s on

The fruit on the menu for the tasting is currently:

  • West Indian Limes
  • Breadfruit Chips
  • Papaya
  • Carambola
  • Jakfruit
  • Black Sapote
  • Canistel
  • Rambutan
  • Soursop
  • Green Coconut
  • Rollinia
  • Custard Apple
  • Pommelo
  • Mamey Sapote
  • Sweetsop

The favourite fruit are Rambutan, Custard Apple, Pommelo and Breadfruit chips.

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FARM ACTIVITIES- a time for slashing, pruning and planting

The main tasks have been keeping the grass down over the last 2 months and pruning the Salaks. An hour with the pruning sheers leaves your hands cut to ribbons by the prickles which lodge into your fingers and fester. No wonder this is not a popular crop to grow, though it is always one of the favourites at the tasting.

We have also been busy planting out young trees from the nursery, to fill in the gaps caused by the cyclone. We have planted 15 Mangosteens, 20 Durians and 10 Jaboticaba in the last weeks of April.

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH  - Breadfruit Chips with Hot Spicy Lime Pickle.

Breadfruit Chips

The Breadfruit is cut up into thin slices, soaked in water to remove the excess starch and then fried in oil until they are crisp on the outside and slightly brown. We drain them on newspaper and then place them on a tray in a warm oven until the whole batch is cooked. Then they are sprinkled with salt. We serve this with a Hot Spicy Lime Pickle. The pickle is placed in the blender and made into a puree so that it can be spread onto the Breadfruit Chips – as thick as marmalade for those who love chillies and a tiny skerrick for those who don’t.

Hot Spicy Lime Pickle

We make this recipe when we have hundreds of limes falling onto the ground – usually around April. Then it can just sit and hibernate in a dark cupboard for a few months until the Breadfruit season comes round.

1kg limes

4 tablespoons salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons garam marsala

4 red chillies (we use Birds Eye Chillies – very small and very hot)

Cut limes into eighths. Mix together spices, salt and chopped chillies. Mix well with limes and then put in a screw topped jar and cover. Keep in a warm place for a week, shaking the jar every day. The pickles is ready to use when the lime skins become soft. We blend the limes to make a sauce which is easy to spread.

That’s all the News from Cape Trib for May

Alison and Digby Gotts

 

 

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Bed and Breakfast accommodation on an exotic tropical fruit orchard at Cape Tribulation in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest
Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm, Lot 5 Nicole Drive, Cape Tribulation, Queensland, 4873, Australia - Tel: 0740 980057 - Fax: 0740 980067
info@capetrib.com.au.

Last updated December 19, 2013