THE symbolic first tray of the mango season was snapped up on Thursday in Brisbane for $42,000.
Carlo Lorenti of Clayfield Markets Fresh and Harry Nicolaou from Fresh Sensations Carindale together bid a king’s ransom to be crowned the Mango Kings at the 2013 Brisbane Markets Mango Auction.
Funds raised from the sale will be donated to Diabetes Queensland and Life Education Queensland.
"It's been harder than normal in retailing, so together we thought up a way to come up with the money that wasn't going to put too much of a hole in our pockets but still help two great causes," Mr Lorenti said.
Also announced at the early morning event in Rocklea was Clayfield Markets Fresh as 'South East Queensland’s Kindest Greengrocer' – the top shop in the AOK (Act of Kindness) in-store fundraising campaign.
It raised $2270 towards a total of $10,100 for both charities across all 34 participating stores.
Mr Nicolaou’s store, Fresh Sensations Carindale, was hot on its heels and in second place.
More than $68,500 was raised by the Brisbane Markets community in total.
It was Mr Nicolaou’s first time sitting on the winner’s thrown.
However, Mr Lorenti is no stranger to charity work having been crowned Mango King six times since 2006, but this year he said he put extra effort into the AOK fundraising campaign because of a personal connection with one of the charity beneficiaries, Diabetes Queensland.
"It's a great effort from all our customers - we really pushed it this year knowing it would help one of our own," Mr Lorenti said.
Store manager Mick Crouch’s teenage son was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a lifelong condition that's having a profound impact on his family.
The highly competitive auction was held in the heart of the Brisbane Produce Market trading area, with Haesley Cush as auctioneer.
The auction was attended by Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh and Queensland rugby league player Ben Hannant, who is Brisbane Produce Market’s Healthy Eating Ambassador and the face of the Healthy Lunchboxes book and educational promotion.
This year's auction theme was 'The King of Fruit', and saw an Elvis impersonator and Las Vegas Showgirls take to the stage to entertain the crowd.
Since 2002, Brisbane Markets Limited has raised more than $770,000 for Queensland charities by staging the annual event.
The tray of mangoes from this year’s auction was donated by Arnhem Packhouse in the Northern Territory.
Mango production in Australia begins in the Northern Territory and Western Australia in September; followed by Queensland's dry tropical regions in mid-November; then Mareeba/Dimbulah in early December; Central Queensland in late December, and South East Queensland and Northern NSW in early January.