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The fruit and vegetable market at Rusty’s is probably the best known of the Cairns markets and definitely worth a visit to check out the exotic tropical produce.

I particularly love going to Rusty’s in the summer months because of the abundance of stone fruit. It maybe the most hot and humid time of year, but all the delicious fresh mangoes, lychees, peaches, nectarines and cherries make up for it.

While bananas fruit all year round in the tropics, the stone fruits are only available in summer. Their peak season in North Queensland is from about November to March.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]can’t get enough of mangoes[/headline]

picture of mangoes at rusty'sI especially love all the mangoes, they’re the food of the Gods.

In our household, December to February is the season for fresh mango juice, mango slushies, mango smoothies, mango cheesecake and just about anything else you can think of.

They are so nutritious and delicious that I feel the need to make the most of them while they’re available.

It’s only since I’ve lived in the tropics that I’ve realised why you can’t always get mangoes when you go on tropical holidays. They actually have quite a limited season and unfortunately, they don’t like hanging around in fridges for too long either.

The mangoes in North Queensland start becoming ripe around November, perfect timing for Christmas. They ripen earlier in Darwin.

Then, only a few weeks later, it seems like they are past their prime and they start falling off the trees, creating stinky messes on the roads and pathways.

So, mangoes just need to be appreciated while they’re available and then eagerly anticipated for the rest of the year.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]everything tropical[/headline]

picture of ginger flowersThe Rusty’s markets have been running in Cairns since the mid-1970’s.

Besides mangoes, the stalls within Rusty’s sell a huge variety of fruit and vegetables. Some sell only organic, locally grown produce and others bring produce in from other parts of the State so the range is very broad.

There are also stalls selling tropical plants and flowers.

I always make a beeline for the orchid stall to see what flowers are on display because different types of orchid bloom at different times of the year.

Tucked away in the corners of Rusty’s Markets you’ll also find people selling breads, locally made yoghurts, jewellery, second hand books, bric-a-brac and lots more.

If you’re in the mood, you can even get a massage.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]a meeting point for friends[/headline]

picture of friends meeting at Rusty'sThe lively atmosphere makes Rusty’s a favourite Cairns market with the locals as well as tourists who come to see the different varieties of exotic fruit available.

There are some good coffee shops nearby as well as juice stands so it’s a fun place to shop before or after catching up with friends over a fresh juice or coffee.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]travel nq fast facts:[/headline]

  • Rusty’s is open all year round, every Friday to Sunday
  • It is runs between Grafton and Sheridan Streets, towards the Spence Street end
  • Most stalls take cash only but there are two ATM’s close by