During my time away in Far North Queensland, I had the opportunity to check out the Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit Farm.
This farm is owned by Melbourne couple Alison and Digby Gotts (pictured below) who decided to move up north and buy land where the rainforest meets the beach at beautiful Cape Tribulation.
Being the most equatorial region of Australia, Alison and Digby knew that the very moist land and humid climate should be put to good use.
And what better use than to build an exotic fruit farm!
Alison and Digby travelled the world to collect exotic fruit seeds from places such as the Amazon, India, Bali and Thailand to see what fruits could grow in Far North Queensland.
Of the foreign fruit seeds planted, several died and no fruit was grown. But many trees thrived in the climate and today Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm has over 3,000 trees with 155 different species of fruit trees.
Very few of their fruit species are sold commercially as many of their fruits cannot survive the trip down to major cities, nor would those cities be able to appreciate the fruits fully as they would have to be picked green and unripe before arriving at their destination.
Therefore… much of the fruit grown on the fruit farm is for us; tourists of the area who can enjoy the freshly picked ripe exotic fruits on a $25 tasting tour!
Take a look at the fruits I had the opportunity to taste on my tour…
WEST INDIAN LIME
AKA: Key lime
Not the everyday commercial lime sold in Australia because of its small size and large number of seeds. This fruit has many uses such as in salad dressings. We enjoyed it squeezed in to a glass of cold water – it’s intense and strong taste meant that one squeezed west Indian lime would be enough for 6 cups!
VERDICT: Was very refreshing!
AKA: Poor man’s orange
This fruit is the largest citrus fruit on earth and has an extremely thick outer layer.
This fruit is enjoyed best when the membrane is peeled off and the flesh only is eaten. So slice it up and then peel the individual segments.
VERDICT: While this fruit looks like a grapefruit, it was much sweeter and more pleasant of a taste in my opinion.
AKA: Star fruit
This fruit is easily bruised on its edges so is rarely sent to the markets as it would need to be harvested hard and unripe (meaning it’s sweet and crisp flavour cannot be tasted).
It’s wings (edges of the stars) contain oxalic acid which lead to a bitter taste, so when preparing this fruit be sure to cut off the wings and then cut it in to cross-sectional slices to appreciate it’s beautiful star shape!
VERDICT: very sweet, very juicy, and has a similar taste to an apple.
This fruit looks like a kiwi fruit – or a large nut – from the outside, but is a very unique fruit on the inside!
Sapodilla originated from Central America and is quite popular in India as a finger food. As this fruit ripens it becomes impermeable – meaning that oxygen cannot escape the membrane which can give it a slight alcoholic taste (think rum and raisin!).
Enjoy this fruit when the flesh is dark brown in colour for sweetness.
VERDICT: LOVED it! Sweet yet spicy, it tasted like an over ripened pear with cinnamon sprinkled on top!
AKA: Paw paw.
While papaya/paw paw can have a bad rap by many Australians, it is only because consumers don’t eat it when picked ripe in the tropics! Usually they are picked green so that they can last the travel down to major cities for commercial sales. This doesn’t allow for the sugars to develop, leading to a less than average taste. Ever wondered why dried paw paw tastes so good?
I had the opportunity to taste it in the tropics with some west Indian lime juice squeezed on top to bring out the flavour and WOW.
VERDICT: Beautiful tangy yet sweet flavour. The flesh is very avocado-like.
Did you know?
Papaya has been shown to aid digestion! Read more here.
Commonly grown across Central America, this fruit is NOT juicy and its flesh sort of looks similar to that of a boiled pumpkins! Enjoy the flesh of the fruit, don’t eat the skin.
VERDICT: Creamy texture. Tastes like a very sweet sweet potato. Really loved it – went back for seconds. And thirds. And possibly fourths.
Described as looking like an alien from the outside, this fruits tree is actually a type of cactus!
Its tastes can vary depending on how it is grown – if grown in the sun it can be quite sweet in taste. However, if it is grown in an area where there is high rain fall, the water is absorbed and the sweetness is lost, tasting quite watery. Apparently this fruit tastes great dried.
The dragonfruit has both a white flesh type and a red flesh type. I was lucky enough to try the bright red/dark pink type!
VERDICT: refreshing taste and gorgeous appearance!
AKA: Custard apple
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on this fruit at your local market, don’t store it in the fridge when you bring it back home! If you bought it green and hard, Alison suggests storing it in a brown paper bag with a banana for a couple of days. This fruit is the only one in its family to make it to the big time, so congrats custard apple!
VERDICT: Have tried this one before and loved it. Much sweeter and pleasant trying it in the topics though!
AKA: Lemon meringue pie fruit (due to its taste!)
If the name hasn’t sold you already, then I’m sure the taste will. Coming from the same family as the custard apple, this fruit has a very short shelf life from when it is picked.
VERDICT: Similar to the custard apple but a thicker and creamier taste. Really enjoyed it!
Siblings to the atemoya and rollinia, this fruit won’t melt in your mouth like the previous two! Be sure to have a napkin nearby when eating this juicy fruit…
VERDICT: A sweet, sour apple taste! (similar taste to green apple flavoured sorbet ice cream, I thought). Very refreshing!
I really recommend trying to get your hands on some of these fruits if you ever can, very interesting tasting them all.
If you are visiting Far North Queensland in the near future, be sure to check out the Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm by going to capetrib.com.au