Go to: Dino and Pam: family backgrounds | The original farm | From dairying to mixed farming | Weeds to lifestyle blocks | Beans, cucumbers and a lot of bananas | Cyclones and the Tornado | Resumed land, sales and policy changes | Peas, lychees and pumpkins | Bananas in the 1930s | Neighbours | The Future? | Working the farm today | The changing community | Italians and Australians | The growing family | A partnership
Beans, cucumbers and a lot of bananas
How long did you keep up with the beans; I mean obviously you did beans and cucumbers here by the house for a long time.
Pam: Well we did the cucumbers for quite a few years after we bought off your father didn’t we?
Dino: Once I got that there…
Pam: Did we stop then?
Dino: About 1976.
Pam: Well I’m glad you remember, you don’t have to refer to the books anyway for sure.
Dino: 1976-77 was the last time …
Pam: Is it that long ago we stopped the cucumbers? I liked the cucumbers.
Dino: The old station wagon – remember? The old Falcon station wagon used to take them in.
Pam: Oh yeah. Yep, yep.
Dino: It got that way, cause I changed my method of banana growing, once I took over from Dad, Dad didn’t like to spend money, but I went through and I started doing beetle borer, nematode control and all that. And in two years I doubled the production of bananas and we were flat strap.
Pam: I don’t know how we did it.
Dino: We did 36 hours straight. I nearly died.
And how many, just the two of you?
Dino: Yep, Dad would come up and give us a hand.
Pam: Make the cartons… no he didn’t actually. He used to de hand the bananas for us.
Dino: And do cases, he used to pack the cases. And we had cucumbers at the same time, so sent her to bed at midnight, I said “I’ll see how I go.” Said “I’ll wake you up about half past four,” something like that to go and pick cucumbers cause you’ve got to pick them early in the morning so they’re crisp. The worst time was about from four to half past. You always go groan, groan, groan. Once the sun comes up you’re right. It’s just on daybreak, that’s when my eyes were getting heavy.
Pam: Mad, absolutely cracked.
And how many years did you do that for?
Dino: We did that for a couple of years and then I said “that’s it!” The production came from just over four thousand cartons a year to … we had it up to ten thousand. That was enough (laughs) that was enough. Six thousand cartons in eight weeks.
Pam: And we’re still alive to tell the tale (laughs).
Dino: Sorry I must say we had her brother here working for us.
Pam: For that year, that big year.
Dino: And what we made out of the bananas out of that six thousand cartons, was just enough to pay his wage.
Pam: True, don’t know why I’m still here.
Dino: We cleared twenty cents a carton (laughs).
Were just too many bananas around?
Pam: Yeah, oversupply. Beautiful fruit, beautiful fruit. But then, in between all this we had storms that wiped us out and oh…. It was awful, absolutely awful.