Australians celebrate Papaya Week from 11-17 September says Candy MacLaughlin, general manager of producer Skybury. They are introducing the exotic fruit to local cafes, restaurants and the general public about the benefits inherent in the widely-grown red papaya.
“Our idea is to do a pilot program locally here in Tropical North Queensland and partner with local restaurants, so we are able to show chefs and diners how delicious and versatile this local crop really is,” she said.
The farm has teamed up with restaurant partners Ochre Restaurant, Guyala Café and Caffiend and will showcase the fruit at its own café to embrace “papaya power” in specially created papaya dishes on their menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
With nearly all red papaya eaten in Australia grown within 500km of Cairns, the industry is a major employer supplying around 5,000 tonnes each year to meet intrastate and interstate demand and contributing approximately $20 million per annum into the economy.
“Our papaya fields at Paddy’s Green near Mareeba are part of a patchwork of neighbouring growers’ farms,” Ms MacLaughlin said.
“As well as Skybury, there are several other major papaya growers in Far North Queensland who grow and pick red papaya for 52 weeks a year.
“As an industry, papaya would employ thousands of people directly and hundreds more indirectly in transport, logistics, storage and retailing.
“One of the interesting aspects of papaya – apart from it being a delicious and nutritious superfood – is that it is incredibly versatile.
You can use it in a papaya boat for breakfast, in bruschetta for lunch, and in savoury curries for dinner. And anytime is papaya smoothie time!” she added.
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