In a market first, Mareeba lychee grower and United Marketing Lychee Association member, Frank Quintieri, has donated the first Sun Lychee boxes of the season to the Brisbane Produce Market’s charity partner, the MND & Me Foundation, following a fundraising auction that raised $11,000.
Held on Thursday, 25 October on the Market’s trading floor and building on the tradition of the popular annual Mango Auction, wholesalers Debbie and John Trimboli of Romeo’s Marketing (Qld) partnered with the Quintieri family, to auction two boxes of Souey Tung lychees to a supportive Markets community.
The Trimbolis pledged to match the winning bid of $5,500, placed by fellow Brisbane Produce Market wholesaler, Mark Clarke of Favco, with all proceeds going to the MND & Me Foundation, which raises funds for people diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).
“It’s great to raise money for MND as it’s something that has touched our Market community personally,” said Mr Clarke.
Lychee grower, Frank Quintieri, said he and his family had also been affected by MND, having lost his grandfather to the disease just 12 weeks ago.
“My grandfather was as strong as an ox until the past two years,” said Mr Quintieri.
“It’s a terrible disease and it doesn’t matter what age you are, it can happen to anyone, despite being healthy. It means a lot to my family that the MND & Me Foundation will receive the funds,” he said.
The Quintieri family have been producing lychees in Mareeba since the early 1990s and are a long-standing member of the United Lychee Marketing Association (ULMA) which partners with MW Exports for export, domestic and direct sales.
Sun Lychee representative and Director of MW Exports, Maria Walker, said she was very pleased to see lychees front and centre in support of such a great cause.
“I’m elated to be honest and a bit emotional,” said Mrs Walker.
“This is a historical moment for the lychee industry and I’m so grateful to Frank and his father Orlando, the Sun Lychee team, and Romeo’s for pulling this all together for such a great cause. This idea came about last season from a conversation between Orlando Quintieri, and my late husband Martin. It is wonderful to see it come to life and we look forward to building on this partnership next season and attracting an even bigger audience of bidders.”
The Australian lychee industry produces around 3,000 tonnes per annum with a farm gate value of $20 million with Sun Lychee consistently having a large share of the market. As a long-established brand, Sun Lychee is internationally recognised for its’ strong reputation of long lines, reliable qualities across all varieties, and consistent returns to growers.