Australian Farmers Attempt to Showcase Durians on a Global Platform

By Hari Yellina
Pic supplied

Blair Limbert, a Brisbane native, is a true durian fanatic. He and his business partner Riley Hickson founded The Ripe Time, a tropical fruit farm in Far North Queensland that grows 50 different tropical fruits such as durian, cempedak, jackfruit, and mangosteen. The duo has high ambitions for durian and other tropical fruits in Western markets around the world. “We want to be the world’s largest durian and ultra-tropical fruit growers.” We now have a contract on over 7,000 acres (2,833 hectares) of the best agriculture property in Far North Queensland. “We’re in the process of preparing to swiftly expand to the next phase,” Limbert explains.

Limbert has had a difficult time getting to this point. He was bullied and struggled from many mental health issues as a child, including anxiety and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). He struggled with drinking and work issues as an adult, as well as poor health due to an improper diet. Limbert chose to change his life five years ago. One of the things he did was eat a lot of fruit. While he liked traditional temperate fruits like apples, pears, and oranges, he learned that nothing beats the taste of tropical fruits. He eventually partnered up with Hickson (whom he met after the latter purchased a cempedak Limbert was selling on Facebook Marketplace), and the two began their business venture by planting fruit trees in Hickson’s mother’s front yard. However, they were both aware that most parts of Australia were unsuitable for cultivating tropical fruits. Only one exception existed: Far North Queensland.

The majority of Australia’s climates are unsuitable for cultivating tropical fruits. However, one exception exists: Far North Queensland. Limbert and Hickson were fortunate enough to find a tropical fruit plantation in the vicinity that was well within their budget. The Ripe Time uses exclusively natural procedures, and sustainability is a significant driving concept for the partnership. Their fruit woods are meticulously planned to optimise photosynthesis and promote strong plant development.

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