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Goodman Estate

John & Melanie Goodman

"My father, Derrick Goodman, cleared our property to grow sugar cane in the 1950ís after serving in World War II. Having grown up in Mossman, he had always thought about farming as a career, so when offered a returned servicemanís block he realised his ambition and became one of the regionís most forward thinking canefarmers.

Our familyís interest in growing cocoa started when researchers from Queenslandís Department of Primary Industries (DPI) visited Mossman Mill in 1999. They wanted to see if cocoa could be grown effectively in Northern Australia. Our property was chosen as the site for a one hectare trial plot. Other sites included; Innisfail, Nth Queensland; Kununurra, Western Australia; and Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Goodman Estate was chosen for its good drainage, good water supply (we had recently installed an irrigation system) and natural wind breaks. The thinking at the time was that cocoa trees were susceptible to wind damage due to their large leaves, so wind breaks were a necessity. The DPI planted quandong trees to provide the young saplings with shade. Over time the trees, which grow close together, have formed their own protective canopy.

Now, 10 years later, our estate has one of Mossmanís most substantial cocoa groves. Our 2.5 hectares of established trees have given us impressive crops and, through Daintree Cocoa, continue to produce superb single-source chocolate.

For us, most jobs on the farm are a family affair, especially picking. Our extended family gets together to tackle this once a fortnight between April and late December. I try and make picking the cocoa fun, the trick is to get a big group of us together and knock the job over quickly.

I currently lease out the growing of sugar cane so that I can concentrate on the cocoa. This also allows me time to work off the farm to support my interest in cocoa. It is a rewarding enterprise as there is always something new to learn about and it is also immensely satisfying knowing that the product has such well recognised health benefits."

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