John Crayford has been adding a sweet touch to life in the Central Australian Outback for nearly 30 years.
But he is now 70 and feels it’s time to retire.
John is selling Red Centre Farm at Ti Tree – and hopes the new owner will not only continue growing some of the best mangoes in the world but expand the project.
“The potential for this place is incredible,” he says.
John says his dodgy knees no longer allow him to put in the effort needed to run the farm.
“I can’t look after the place,” he says. “I’ve tried appointing other people to do the job but you have to be there looking over their shoulder.”
The 9.4 hectare property 180 kilometres north of Alice Springs was set up in 1988.
It has 1800 mango trees, mainly Kensington Pride but also some Hayden and Kent.
The farm shop has turned over $1.5 million in a good year selling mangoes, mango ice cream, sweet chutneys, conserves, sauces, toppings, mineral water and frozen fruit.
It used to sell mango wine.
“I stopped making the wine a while back,” says John. “I used to sell it overseas. I still get inquiries from abroad, so there’s potential to start that business again.”
He has also stopped growing grapes.
John has drawn up plans for a new owner to develop a caravan park.
“That would make a fortune,” he says. “There’s a big demand for caravan space.
“Someone with a lot of energy could develop this property very nicely.”
The freehold farm is watered via an automated irrigation system from a bore with a 75Mw water licence.
Cool rooms and the packing shed are equipped with a mango drier with the power supplied from the Ti Tree power station, supplemented from the solar panels on the packing shed roof.
Dwellings include a one-bedroom cottage with additional workers’ accommodation and kitchen provided to accommodate seasonal staff.
There is a workshop with power and additional storage in four shipping containers.
Visitors to Red Centre Farm are always impressed.
One writes on TripAdvisor: “Some of the best mangoes you will ever taste. Great stopover two hours north of Alice Springs just off highway. They sell great ice cream as well.”
Another posts: “Stopped off here to get the freshest mango we’ve ever eaten. We also had yummy mango ice cream.”
And a third says: “People are nice and the farm is beautiful. Stop and buy some mango products.”