Skybury Farms Media + Marketing Information
SKYBURY FARMS – THE SOURCE OF GREAT TASTE
Skybury Farms is an intergenerational agri-tourism business located near Mareeba, Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
Our family owned company began in 1987 when founders Ian and Marion MacLaughlin established Australia’s first commercial coffee plantation, naming their business Skybury Coffee.
Some years later, Skybury was the first commercial plantation to introduce the larger variety of red papaya to the Australian market. Today we are the country's largest papaya producer picking over ten million pieces of fruit per annum and supplying up to 50% of all the fruit consumed within Australia.
Skybury Farms is proudly 100% Australian owned, Australian grown. Recently we have started to value add, producing a range of items based on papaya and coffee including condiments, preserves, dried fruits, spirits and liqueurs, and skincare.
Today Skybury Farms is home to three generations of MacLaughlins. Ian and Marion’s children Candy MacLaughlin and Mark MacLaughlin and their families all live on the farm and continue to drive the business with the same passion and commitment as the original founders.
Our family strives to be leaders and innovators in sustainable agricultural management principles. Our commitment to research and development, as well as our longer term view for sustainable farming, has led to fundamental changes to how we farm.
For us, it is not just about farming for today, it’s about farming for tomorrow, practising agriculture that is both environmentally sound and economically dynamic. Skybury’s on-farm practices include water conservation, renewable power, erosion control, integrated pest management and dual cropping.
We were the first papaya farm in Australia to grow 100% tissue cultured papaya, resulting in a secure and ongoing supply of elite plant material.
Sustainability doesn’t end at the environment, either. By employing around 110 staff, purchasing goods and services from the region’s suppliers and sponsoring community events, Skybury Farms continues to sustain - and play a major role in – our local community in Mareeba and the surrounding district.
We are the oldest commercial coffee plantation in Australia and have been successfully exporting coffee to Europe, Japan and other countries for more than 20 years.
Our location – at the top of the Great Dividing Range, 520 metres above sea level – gives us well drained soil, no frost and an annual rainfall of 800mm per annum. These conditions provide the ideal climate for our Bourbon variety of Arabica coffee.
Each October, Skybury’s 90,000 coffee trees flower spectacularly with a perfume likened to the heady scent of jasmine. We synchronise this flowering event by controlling irrigation. The current annual crop is 40 tonnes of green beans, half of which is exported and half roasted on our plantation and shipped through our roastery to every corner of Australia.
Our customers choose Skybury coffee for its unique taste profile. It has a dark chocolate aroma, a rich buttery mouth feel and a nutty taste with hints of caramel and citrus. Its natural sweetness comes directly from the coffee beans which take on the characteristics of their growing conditions.
We grow Carica Papaya, a red papaya native to the tropics of the Americas. Skybury supplies national retailers along Eastern Australia and many independent retailers who love to support Aussie farmers. Our fruit is hand harvested from the trees when it first shows colour, ensuring maximum natural sweetness and taste. Papaya is packed into 8kg boxes and shipped from our plantation 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. We send out around 150,000kgs every week!
Papaya is a natural superfood packed with vitamins and antioxidants. One 150g serve provides your Vitamin C needs, nearly 1/3 of Vitamin A and more than 25% of folate requirements. Papaya will boost your immunity, aid digestion and improve your gut health – plus it tastes amazing!
Skybury is dedicated to growing the papaya category across Australia. Our goal is to see more Australians enjoy this tropical delight and its amazing versatility.
Commercial papaya sales and distribution is managed by partners Tropical Fruit Direct.
Skybury Farms has always met its own plant requirements. Our nursery and tissue culture laboratories are a key component of our business. Before joining the family business Mark MacLaughlin, an agronomist, worked for a decade supporting farmers in the region. Today he has oversight on Skybury’s plant breeding, field trials, plant health and production. Dr Josekutty, a cellular and molecular biologist, shaped the Research & Development division of Skybury with Ian MacLaughlin. He manages tissue culture and biotechnology and achieved a 35% increase in average yield and 2% increase in Brix (sugar content) in 5 years.
Skybury’s nursery has two laboratories producing tissue culture plants. In 2022, our nursery manager won a major global propagation award at the International Plant Propagator’s Society 50th Annual Congress.
Virus elimination is a specialty of our Research & Development function.
To date, our nursery has produced grapes, coffee and passionfruit plant material (as well as papaya) in commercial capacity. We assist other businesses and have developed protocols for invitro cloning for avocados, custard apple, guava, grapes, jackfruit and eucalyptus and woody plants. Lychees and mangos are in the pipeline!
Skybury Café & Roastery
In 2006, we opened a beautiful, open air onsite coffee centre which, as well as educating visitors on the history and cultivation of our coffee and papaya, has been home to our roastery and our popular Skybury Café.
It’s also one of the top tourism venues on the Atherton Tablelands, attracting visitors (and locals) by its breathtaking views, mouthwatering menu, friendly hospitality and farm gate produce.
As well as enjoying Skybury coffee and papaya, visitors can sample and taste all of our coffee blends, condiments, preserves, dried fruits, spirits and liqueurs – made from our plantation grown papaya and coffee beans.
The story of Skybury and the journey our coffee undertakes from crop to cup is expressed in information boards and virtual tours and cinema videos in our working roastery and popular café.
The Skybury Café and Roastery is located just outside the town of Mareeba and is open 10am-4pm Mon-Fri (closed on weekends and Public Holidays).
Skybury Farms is pleased to partner with multiple local and national businesses to develop and value add to their production. We believe that vertical integration will be the way of the future, and by partnering with like-minded businesses, sharing assets and expertise we create a sustainable business model.
Skybury partnered with The Jetbest Group in 2021 and formed TFD, a joint venture business which provides transparency for farmers with regards to produce sales. Today this business continues to pave a new path for transparency and building connections with consumers who are looking for provenance.
For interviews, article quotes, site visits or any reason you need, feel free to contact Skybury Farms’ spokesperson Candy MacLaughlin.
High Resolution Images
We have a selection of landscape and portrait images available to illustrate our farm and our café/roastery and our products. Please email email@example.com to request these.
Candy MacLaughlin | General Manager | Skybury Coffee Pty Ltd | M. 0429 056 629 | E. firstname.lastname@example.org | 136 Ivicevic Road, Paddy's Green QLD 4880
PO Box 1122, Mareeba QLD 4880 | Australia | P. 4093 2194 | F. 4086 6145 | www.skybury.com.au