Mango Madness 2013/2014

DSC_0008 (1) IMG_2886 DSC_0003 IMG_2844 IMG_2868Just after lunch last Sunday saw Matt wrapping and wheeling the final pallet of mangoes off the shed floor and into the cold room which signalled the end of our first ever Blue Sky ProduceMango season – wahoooooo!!  This also brought our second quarter of farm life to a close (you can read about our first quarter here).  It is so hard to believe we have been living in Far North Queensland for over six months now!  Only another twenty odd years to go and we might be able to consider ourselves locals!!

These last few months really have been mango madness!!  We have to admit that this quarter saw some of the ‘gloss’ and novelty of our change to farm life wear off!  It has been hard work and a huge learning curve!  The days were very long (Matt turning the lights on in the shed at 5am and often not turning them off before 9pm!), it became stinking hot, it was stressful trying to logistically manage a new packing shed, something we had never done before – remembering to order boxes, stickers, plastic, chemicals, parts – the list is huge!  Matt also had to manage a team of twenty – thirty workers of which at least 17 were living here onsite, so it was like running a campground too – making sure toilet paper supplies were up to date, bonds were collected, rents were collected, cooking/washing facilities were all working, check-ins were happening – you get the picture.

Matt was tired and stressed, I was hot, fat, definitely pregnant, tired and grumpy, all of which was not helped by the fact that everybody else in the world was in Christmas holiday mode, ready to relax and get festive, oh, and we did of course have all the kids home too on school holidays and the incident of Jack’s broken arm on Christmas eve!!  I think we also got a big dose of back to reality (work, school, bills, responsibility!) and the post-trip comedown/blues at this point too, everything finally sinking in that our adventure so long in the making was all over in three short months.  But, we survived, we’re still here, with only a few minor meltdowns and snapping at each other and we didn’t jump back in the camper and take off for the road again (we got pretty close a few times though)!!!!

The side of our fridge became Matt' scheduling station as he worked out each night what workers were needed where.

The side of our fridge became Matt’ scheduling station as he worked out each night what workers were needed where.

It wasn’t all bad.  The start of the season was actually quite exciting!  It’s what I’d imagine a shearing season might be like, perhaps what it might be like here in a few years time – where you look forward to your worker’s arriving for the year and hearing what they have been up to, perhaps seeing some familiar faces back again from the previous season?  Our crew all started moving on site in mid-November, the day after our worker’s dorms were actually finished!

Camp Kitchen - Worker's Dorm

Camp Kitchen – Worker’s Dorm

Packing shed sparkling clean and waiting for the season to commence!

Packing shed sparkling clean and waiting for the season to commence!

Seeing the first few loads of mangos arriving on the trucks, watching them be unloaded with the forklift, hearing the packing shed turn on for the first time (the noise of the shed in action is a low hum – took me straight back to my childhood spent in the dairy!) and seeing the shed in full fledged work mode was quite a site to behold!

Matt welcoming the first crew to the Blue Sky Produce shed

Matt welcoming the first crew to the Blue Sky Produce shed

De-sapping crew - these guys were actually pretty good singers too!

De-sapping crew – these guys were actually pretty good singers too!

De-sapping is one of the hardest and most important jobs in the shed!

De-sapping is one of the hardest and most important jobs in the shed!

The grading girls - another important and tough job!

The grading girls – another important and tough job!

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All systems go!

The packing and sorting bench

The packing and sorting bench

Captain is not a fan of mango season - it means he's not allowed in the shed and there are no days spent running after the four wheeler through the orchard

Captain is not a fan of mango season – it means he’s not allowed in the shed and there are no days spent running after the four wheeler through the orchard

There were some other perks of the mango season ……………………………………………

Mangos for breakfast!

Mangos for breakfast!

Mangos for lunch and dinner and in between too!

Mangos for lunch and dinner and in between too!

We could put the kids to work - very cheap labour!

We could put the kids to work – very cheap labour!

And there were some beautiful Blue Sky sunsets

And there were some beautiful Blue Sky sunsets

We did also squeeze in a bit of time for a couple of things like ……………………………………

A lightening strike which started a fire behind our avocado orchard!

A lightening strike which started a fire behind our avocado orchard!

A swanky new sign installed out the front!

A swanky new sign installed out the front!

A laugh at the manager learning to drive the forklift!

A laugh at the manager learning to drive the forklift!

And even a Christmas BBQ and a trip for Matt to follow our fruit to the markets in Brisbane.

And we got a huge kick out of having photos of our fruit emailed to us from all over the place.  You might remember Malte who worked here before the season started, well he sent this great photo in when he spotted our mangos on his travels in New South Wales!!

Malte - an ex-worker with the Blue Sky mangos he spotted in NSW

Malte – an ex-worker with the Blue Sky mangos he spotted in NSW

All in all, it was a pretty good first season.  We learnt a lot, didn’t blow anything up or kill each other, were still welcome at the Family Christmas table, and we are hopeful that the growers who packed with us this year will be back again next year, hopefully bringing some other farms!!  So a big congratulations and thank you to all of the Blue Sky workers this year – we did it – wahoooooooo!!

 

Categories: Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Mango Madness 2013/2014

  1. Beth

    It is pretty amazing to see the whole process unfold…from paddock to plate!! Phew…survived the first one!!

  2. Wowser that is a lot of mangoes! How interesting to see and read.

  3. Yummmm! These look delicious! So cool how you wrote about the process…it is a nice reminder where our fruit comes from:)

  4. jenjo22

    I have learnt lots. Great photos of the process

  5. What a huge feeling of accomplishment that must be! Super interesting post 🙂

  6. Pingback: Flashback Friday – 12 months ago today …………. | 'Are We There Yet?'

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