Bountiful durian harvest this year

Durian lovers and adventurous foodies can expect to binge on more durians this season compared to last year.

Bao Sheng Durian Farm third-generation farmer Chang Zhi Vooi, 21, said this was due to the good weather this year which brought on the growth of more of the king of fruits.

He added that this also meant a higher probability of durians which produce the numbing sensation, also termed as the "fifth flavour" of durians - the other four being sweet, bitter, flowery and winey.

"We cannot guarantee it, but from experience there are good chances of encountering more durians with the numbing effect.

"This occurs when there is a lot of gas in the fruit," he said in an interview at his farm in Balik Pulau.

For the best numbing effect, Zhi Vooi said durians that drop from old trees (40 years or more) must be consumed within 30 minutes to two hours.

"However, it is important to note that not every durian from an old tree will produce a numbing effect," he added.

When asked if there would be any increase in prices this year, he said the price of durians from his farm remained the same.

"Our prices have been fixed for the last three to four years. Whether prices in the market are higher or lower, we are not affected by it as we cultivate almost the same amount every year," he said.

Zhi Vooi also said most people would visit the farm during the peak season to savour the famous Red Prawn and Hor Lor species of durians.

"The 604, Centipede (Lipan), Little Red, and Kam Poh species will be available at the end of May; the Hor Lor and Red Prawn during the peak period (June 1 to 20); while the Green Skin 15, D15, D14, Bak Eu, Ling Fong Jiao and D99 will be available from June 20 to mid-July," he said.

His sister Juli Chang, 23, said their four chalets were fully booked for June.

"This year, we are expecting many Singaporean visitors and next year a lot of Chinese tourists," she said.

She added that there would be smoothies available for visitors this year made from jackfruit, banana, papaya, coconut, pineapple, watermelon, mango or passion fruit.

Checks with a few durian sellers revealed that the prices of the fruits would generally remain the same.

However, a wholesaler who declined to be named said his durians had gone up by RM2 (S$0.70) to RM3 due to the rise in the price of goods.