AS the mango season knocks at the door once more, a central Queensland farming family will go into the season with a new title to their names.
Benaraby's Ian and Gloria Pershouse, and son Scott, of IH and GA Pershouse, were named Honey Gold Grower of the Year in August.
IH and GA Pershouse is a family business which has a mango-growing tradition spanning some 70 years.
Ian Pershouse said the family had grown Honey Golds since varietal founder, the late Noel Sammon discovered the cross in his Rockhampton orchard about 20 years ago.
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However, the family's mango experience dated back to the 1950s when Mr Pershouse's father Charlie planted his first Kensington Pride seed.
"We'd been growing mangoes in a small way for some time and were the only growers in this region," he said.
"We first saw Honey Golds at a field day and were impressed with the golden skin colour and beautiful texture."
"At the time, we were looking for something special to graft onto the root stock of 1000 trees and the Honey Gold variety was it.
"As a result, we became one of the first producers to take up the variety.
"The market took to Honey Golds immediately. In the early days, we sent fruit directly to Brisbane and Sydney.
"When Pinata Farms acquired the breeding rights, it already had a foot in the door with the supermarket chains and the variety has gone from strength to strength in consumer appeal."
The Pershouses are among some 30 third-party growers around Australia who produce the Honey Gold variety under contract to Pinata Farms between November and March.
Pinata Farms' managing director, Gavin Scurr, presented the award during a roadshow in which Pinata representatives visited Honey Gold growers in key Queensland growing regions in late July.
The roadshow replaced the annual Honey Gold Congress which was unable to proceed in its usual format due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Pershouse family has some 7000 mango trees, including 4300 Honey Gold trees under cultivation near Awoonga Dam.
Mr Pershouse said the family was excited to win the award.
"We're among a great team of Honey Gold growers and we all work together to put in our best efforts. It's great to be acknowledged for those efforts," he said.
Mr Pershouse said, in his experience, the variety was consistent and reliable and produced a good-to-moderate crop every year.
"However, we also pay close attention to growing practices including pruning straight after harvest, having leaf and soil samples taken to analyse nutrient requirements, getting the timing and frequency of the spray program right and more," he said.
The Pershouse crop is now in flower and due for harvesting in January.
About 35, mostly local workers, are employed during the harvest period to pick and pack the fruit.
Pinata Farms sales and marketing manager, Rebecca Scurr, said the award was decided unanimously.
"The Pershouse family produced beautiful fruit with high bloom and vibrancy," Ms Scurr said.
"The glow of the skin and the texture of the fruit was outstanding and lived up to the premium promise of the Honey Gold brand."
MS Scurr said flowering had begun in all regions with trees at various stages, including some fruit set in warmer Northern Territory pockets.
"Generally, flowering begins in winter in all regions but because of the warmer conditions in the Northern Territory, fruit matures there first," she said.
"It's far too early to predict the season at this point, but all growers are happy with how flowering is looking so far."
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