80-year-old's fruitful win at show

FANTASTIC FRUIT: Charlie Batzoff won Champion Fruit at the Toowoomba Show with his red dragon fruit.
FANTASTIC FRUIT: Charlie Batzoff won Champion Fruit at the Toowoomba Show with his red dragon fruit. Cassandra Glover

CHARLIE Batzoff started growing fruit at 10 years old. Now 80, he won Champion Fruit with his red dragon fruit at this year's Toowoomba Show.

"I've grown them all myself at Captains Mountain, just outside Millmerran,” he said.

"They're in the cactus family. They're fairly drought-resistant and don't need a lot of water. They're also resistant to a lot of pests and weeds.

"I grow all three varieties - red, white and pink. The red ones are the most popular.

"It's dragon fruit season at the moment. The last lot of flowers are coming on now. They flower from November right through until about April.

"I have about 80 dragon fruit plants. I just sell them (the fruit) locally to local shops in Millmerran and different people from around the place come and buy them.”

Mr Batzoff said red dragon fruit was his favourite.

"I love them with a bit of ice cream or jelly,” he said.

Mr Batzoff's garlic won best root vegetable. He also received second and third place in a number of other categories.

On his 113ha property he grows a large variety of fruit and vegetables, including mandarins, oranges, persimmons, quinces, lemons, star fruit, garlic, onions, pumpkins, squash, watermelons, potatoes and sweet potatoes, peanuts, pecans and mangoes.

With winter coming Mr Batzoff said he would start growing cabbages, broccoli, carrots, beetroot, as well as a few other things. He also has 15 head of beef cattle.

"A lot of people ask me 'what don't I grow?'” he said.

"I don't have to buy a lot of vegetables.”

Mr Batzoff has been farming for 70 years. He has been on his current property since 1978 and runs it by himself.

"I started off when I was about 10 years old, growing some stuff in the sand by the creek bed,” he said.

"Melons were the first thing I grew. Dad used to grow melons and I would save a few seeds and take them down to the creek and plant them.”

Topics:  champion fruit charlie batzoff dragonfruit toowoomba show 2018