Red Fox Pitayas are a grower of dragonfruit and koubo fruit. Also produce dragonfruit jams and preserves. Open to the public.
~ Red Fox Pitayas Story ~
I am sure you have all spotted a Pitaya, or Dragonfruit as they are more commonly known, and perhaps curiosity has had the better of you and you may even have tried one. They are a strange looking hot pink waxy skinned fruit, with a vivid claret or white flesh sprinkled throughout with what looks a little like black sesame seeds.
Red Fox Pitaya’s have been growing Dragon Fruit at their plantation in East Nanango for five years and to me it was where I could first really appreciate the beauty of this unusual fruit that is almost something of an aberration considering not only its appearance, but the way in which it is grown.
The fruit is product of a member of the cactus family, an epiphytic vine that produces stems up to 7 meters in length that, in the ordered structure of a plantation, are trained up posts to spill out a canopy from which the fruit hangs; it almost gives the appearance of a topiary standard. Left to their own devices, the vines will happily find their way up trees or any other random structure it may find in its quest for sunlight.
The spectacular flower buds can appear as early as October and will often continue right through to May, with the main flowering happening in early January. The flowering is almost an event in itself as they only open for one night which spurred the idea for Bernice Danahay from Red Fox Pitayas to open her plantation to the public for evening visits during the main flowering periods. The flamboyant white flowers begin to burst open as early as 4pm and by 9pm have reached their full beauty – beauty enhanced by the fairylights and moonlight that give the gardens and translucent flowers an almost ethereal ambience. After one night of glory they start to close with the sun’s rays upon them, but not before the bee’s have had their share. After 30 days the dragon fruit is ready to pick but they can stay on the vine for up to another 15 days.
The fruit itself is vividly spectacular in its appearance. It is often described as having a melon like taste, but I personally think that the red fleshed fruit tastes more like a cross between raspberries and kiwi fruit, while the white fleshed fruit will be more that of just a kiwi fruit. I will say, that while I have had many Dragon Fruit that have been bursting with flavour, there has been the odd occasion, when purchased in a supermarket, where the flavour has been completely the lack there of. If this has been the case, don’t be discouraged, just chose your source more carefully.
From a visual perspective you will want to use the Dragon Fruit in dishes where you can show of its vibrancy, as in salads or garnishes but it would look absolutely fabulous as the feature fruit on a pavlova or fruit flan. Gourmet delight I say, they are wonderful chilled and eaten with ice-cream or fresh out of hand just like a kiwi fruit, great flavouring for smoothies or drinks, jams and pastries. They freeze well and make the most wonderful sorbets and they are packed with vitamin C and high in antioxidants – what more could you want from a fruit!
Red Fox Pitaya”s Gardens are open by appointment but if you are planning on visiting, check with Bernice to see when they are flowering and make it an evening visit if you can as it is definitely worth the trip.