Harvesting and packing

Reblo Red Papaya waiting to be harvestedEach tree will start bearing fruit after 8 – 10 months and will produce fruit for about 18 months before we cut it down. To make sure we have Reblo fruit to sell every week of the year we have multiple plantings throughout the year, so we are constantly harvesting sweet Red Flesh Reblo Papaya.

The fruit grows on small stems close to the trunk of the plant. We refer to all the fruit around the trunk as the ‘column of fruit’.  At the top of the tree with the flowers are the newest, smallest fruit while the most mature, biggest fruit is at the bottom of the column and ready to harvest.

Reblo Red papaya ready to be packedReblo is a labour-intensive crop as every tree is harvested twice a week with only 1 or 2 fruit being picked by hand each time. Extreme care is taken to only pick fruit at its ideal maturity (mainly green with a tinge of yellow) or it won’t ripen and have the beautiful sweetness you love.

The freshly picked fruit is placed in padded trays and transported in a single layer to our packing sheds. Conveyor belts carry the trays through a long water bath with clean water spraying constantly to remove dust. The clean fruit is now allowed to dry before being hand selected by size and shape to be packed into boxes for market. Every fruit is checked for blemish or damage and only the best Reblo are placed in a soft netting cover and packed into boxes with extra paper for padding before the lid is placed on.

Reblo Red Papaya being cleaned ready to pack   Reblo Red Papaya being packed ready for market

The boxes are loaded onto pallets and cooled down to 18 degrees Celsius so that they are ready to be loaded onto refrigerated trucks as they head off to markets and consumers around Australia.