One of my husbands annoyances in life is our (my) failure to work out a well organised outing for the whole family on weekends. Being from Queensland (the old mecca of tourism), he also takes this failure as an opportunity to highlight how very few destinations there are in the Perth metro area for half-day trips. I agree to a point but you only have to go through the Entertainment Book (yes, that golden tome of freebies and offers greatly favoured by fundraisers) to see that Perth does offer a fair number of activities and destinations for families. Their existence just seems to disappear into the ether when the time comes to suggest something…
Fortunately, an ad in the West Australian for The Mango Farm up in Wanneroo caught our attention last weekend so we decided to pile into the family car and take a drive out to it. Master Seven was predictably not impressed by having to be stuck in a car for longer than 10 minutes but we assured him (as usual) that he’d probably end up having a great time once we got there. He flipped open his trusty Nintendo DS and sighed, unconvinced.
As for me, I found it hard to believe that someone grew mangoes in the Perth metro area. I had no idea. It was quite an exciting prospect for me as in spite of all the times I have been to Queensland, I had actually never seen a mango growing on a tree, let alone pick one myself. My visits never seemed to coincide with a bumper season. Last Christmas was particularly a bad season and local mango prices weren’t much better than what I was paying in Perth (if you could even find one!).
I was really looking forward to getting hold of cheap-ish mangoes this summer as I had bought a food dehydrator and dried mangoes are wonderful. Very popular with the kids too. However, at five to six dollars a pop, drying them seemed a bit extravagant, particularly since one mango doesn’t yield a huge supply of dried stuff.
The Mango Farm is pretty much what you would expect. Lots of trees in the orchard and a massive shed to weigh and pay for the mangoes you pick. Not a glamour operation (as noted by the ever enterprising hubby) but it was sure attracting the tourists. We entered the shed and since the whole process seemed self-explanatory to me (grab a bucket, net and walk to the orchard) we helped ourselves. I did confirm with someone that we just had to pay afterwards :|
Once Master Seven saw that a huge long stick with a net on the end was involved, he immediately perked up. Miss Almost-Three was excited that there was a bucket involved. Ahead of us were rows and rows of lovely mango trees, all fruiting furiously and clearly in need of harvesting. No wonder the Mango Farm was running ads! We let hubby show us how to use the net pole and proceeded to collect fruit from the trees.
We were told to select fruit that had yellow ends but with two enthusiastic children in tow, we ended up picking what was closest or looked the biggest. There was even perfectly ripe mini mangoes lying on the ground which delighted Miss Almost-Three. They were hard to resist and I had never seen mangoes so little before! We sampled some back at the shed and as they say, good things do come in small packages. Best of all, these mangoes were seedless (there is a small thin membrane in the middle, but not a full seed) so they were mainly fruit.
Pick-your-own mangoes (whatever size you like) cost $10 per kilo so a bucket load will cost around $60. We were careful not to fill our bucket to the top. As much as I love dried mangoes, there is a limit! You can also buy $10 buckets of very ripe mangoes (great for smoothies and recipes that don’t need fruit with structure) and smaller fruit at $5 per kilo. There was even some lovely fresh figs for sale which was an added bonus to the visit.
Our verdict? Well worth the visit if you are mad keen on mangoes or just like to do something different. If the humid conditions continue in Perth (oohh ahh climate change…) then I imagine The Mango Farm will be providing a lot of fruit for years to come. Given it’s such a draw card as it is, I’m pretty sure a smoothie bar or cafe will definitely get more punters going. Hint hint :)
The Mango Farm
Lot 4 Wattle Ave