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Once-in-a-lifetime bumper season a bonus for durian lovers

Hamzah Ahmad weighing durians at his stall in Balik Pulau, Penang. — Pictures by KE Ooi
Hamzah Ahmad weighing durians at his stall in Balik Pulau, Penang. — Pictures by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, April 11 — Durian lovers disappointed by the poor durian harvest last year are in for a treat this year.

The six-month long feast is due to a double fruiting season which also sees the prices of durians slashed by almost half..

The season that started in February is expected to last till mid April when there will be a lull of a couple of weeks before the season starts again in mid-May.

The second half of the season is expected to last till August, according to durian orchard owner, Lim Kow Sih.

This year, expect a longer durian season in Balik Pulau.
This year, expect a longer durian season in Balik Pulau.

The 86-year-old said this is the first time in his lifetime seeing durian trees flowering in November and fruiting in February.

“This is an extraordinary durian harvest season... I believe this is the first time in 100 years that the durian trees in Balik Pulau are fruiting in February,” he said.

Although Lim has been collecting durians from his orchard for over 70 years, he only started selling the durians from his small wooden house in Balik Pulau recently.

Lim Kow Sih cleaning durians in front of his house in Balik Pulau, Penang.
Lim Kow Sih cleaning durians in front of his house in Balik Pulau, Penang.

“Previously, I’d collect baskets of durians and supply to stalls around Balik Pulau but four years ago, I decided to sell them at my house,” he said.

He now hires workers to do the harvesting instead as it is hard work which starts at 6am daily and involves hiking up hills.

“I’m too old now, the workers will collect for me and I’ll bring it back home,” he said.

Due to the abundance of durian this season, prices have dropped to between RM10 to RM20 per kg for durian kampung while the hybrid varieties such as Hor Lor, Ang Heh, Khun Poh, D11 and Musang King are priced between RM25 and RM40 per kg, depending on the size of the fruit.

Customers taking their pick of durians at Lim's house in Balik Pulau.
Customers taking their pick of durians at Lim's house in Balik Pulau.

According to durian seller Hamzah Ahmad, 61, at Jalan Sungai Pinang in Balik Pulau, the February durian season consists mainly of durian kampung.

“There are some hybrid ones in February but most are durian kampung and the flavours are really good this season too,” he said.

He said durian aficionados who prefer hybrid durians should wait for the May season when most of the trees will be fruiting.

“We expect a lot of hybrid durian in May too so there will be a lot for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

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