Under the Crespo mango trees, I find efficiency, ingenuity, mango joy and #muchosmangoes
The “Propaganda Lady” is what they called me last week at Empaque Don Jorge, as I walked around with my mask and hairnet snapping photos and filming staged and impromptu videos. I’ve learned to see the big smiles in the eyes of so many masked strangers. The extreme warmth of the packing house was more than the intense Sinaloa summer heat. It was, as I say in much of my “propaganda,” #PuroMexico #PuroAlegria! A warmth like no other. I loved every moment of my time there.
Propaganda is Spanish for marketing, and it makes me giggle, and reminds me of the simplicity and clarity that most other languages employ. English on the other hand seems sneakier, using multiple words to describe the same thing, but choosing one or the other depending on what is to be propagandized. In Spanish, propaganda simply suggests that whatever the messaging is, it often has another purpose – in this case, to educate customers about our mango production process and about mangoes generally
A real time peak into the Mexican mango orchards
Back in April, right before the transition from the southern regions to the northern regions, we reported about the little Ataulfo mangoes and the drought that was causing them. We further reported that the transition north would result in similar sizing on not just Ataulfos but the round mangoes as well and that the same drought, is running up the continent.
Eventually the rest of the industry followed our lead and starting talking and reporting about the northern regions alarming predictions for small fruit. Here we are now a few weeks into the Nayarit season and we still encounter disbelievers, folks that want to order 6 and 7cnts and are not willing to budge.
Trust us, trust the others, the fruit is small. In Nayarit and Sinaloa.
A few recipes from Mazatlán, recreated in the Crespo Organic Kitchen, by Nissa
Mazatlán is the ceviche capitol of Mexico. Every season I head down to Empaque Don Jorge I indulge in all the wonderful fresh seafood variations of this dish and pack my suitcase full of ideas to bring back. Then I indulge myself and recreate all my favorite flavors and textures, many of which are new to me. I discover another dish or nuance every time I go, and this last time my suitcase was packed full.
Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Nayarit line up for consistency in supply
By nature, transitions can be tricky. Shifting from the southern regions to the northern regions is typically unpredictable and complex. This year, it is proving to be exactly that.
The southern regions have produced a good amount of fruit, mostly on the smaller side and mostly because people like us (Crespo) have strategically increased our orchards there, in order to gain greater volume earlier, capture a bigger percentage of market share immediately, and jumpstart consumer demand sooner. There have been complexities as usual but we maneuver through them fairly well, mostly because of the direct-trade relationships we have with our customers, and the communication and exchange of information on the challenges and opportunities in advance allowing us to together, strategize, knowing each customer and region has different needs.
And two new recipes to use it on!
I have been working in the produce industry for about 25 years now and very few industry folks are familiar with my other career in food; specifically culinary education, food writing and recipe development. I have published countless recipes and written extensively on how to choose and use almost every varietal of vegetables and fruits as well as many other food items. I have taught everyone from kindergarteners to Wholefoods executives about organic, sustainable, local and fairly traded fruits and vegetables and, most notably, herbs.
My produce roots are strong in fresh herbs, as is my culinary strength. It’s fair to call me an herb expert (also fair to call me a mango expert) in the culinary world and those that know my herbal prowess know that above all else, I am a sauce master. I’ve made hundreds of sauces in my years and I make them all exceptionally good and rarely the same. So, it’s no wonder when I started working with Crespo Organic mangoes and developing recipes for the Crespo Organic Kitchen, sauces would materialize. And that they did!
An opportunity knocking down the door
I originally started to write this blog to share important news on the organic mango industry to organic mango customers and interested consumers in real time. I saw a gap between what I was privy to versus what American buyers knew (or didn’t know is more like it) when it came to mangoes, organics and certainly the day-to-day crop and market interrelations.
In my early years, I had learned that when buyers had factual information, long-term (and better) sales opportunities could be made. Stronger relationships were built between consumers, buyers and farmers which set us off on a greater solution-oriented trajectory.
An Interview with Brian Dey
Senior Merchandiser & Natural Stores Coordinator, Four Seasons Produce, Inc.
While it’s true that Cinco De Mayo is less a real holiday in Mexico and more a symbolic celebratory event for Americans, there is a significant rich history behind the day and how it has come to honor the Mexican culture, people and food. As our Cinco de Mayo campaign #CelebrateMexico #CelebrateMangoes nears its peak celebratory days, we thought we’d ask one of our industry’s best produce merchandisers, Brian Dey, for thoughts and advice for this retail extravaganza.
Dey is the Senior Merchandiser and Natural Stores Coordinator for Four Seasons Produce in Ephrata, PA. He has been involved on the retail level of produce for over 33 years and has been with Four Seasons for over 22 years. He has logged substantial hours in almost every position in the produce department—from produce clerk to produce manager. With Four Seasons, he has worked a variety of merchandising positions including Produce Coordinator and Produce Merchandiser. Now, as Senior Merchandiser, he credits his success to an “extreme passion for produce and achieving excellence in growing relations and building sales with a subnational focus on in-store training.” His experience at the store level, in multiple and diverse venues, provides him with the insight and relationship skills needed to create in-store success for the multiple products that Four Seasons Produce provides to its customers.
A promotion that celebrates Mexico with mangoes
Cinco de Mayo is barely a holiday in Mexico, but we are acutely aware that it’s become a big event across the USA. An event that generates a significant amount of sales for Mexican produce items. Mangoes, like avocadoes are one of the items most coveted for the few days that encircle this Americanized holiday. The date feels like an opportunity for us.
Our #CelebrateMexico #CelebrateMangoes campaign not only excites, engages and entices consumers on all things organic mango, but it educates on the beauty and culture of Mexico and encourages a celebration of all things Mexican, including its rich agricultural offerings.
History & hysteria behind Cinco de Mayo
Let’s start with the most important part of the history behind Cinco de Mayo. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexican Independence Day. It’s a day that has becomea symbolic holiday for Americans celebrating what they imagine to be the spirit of Mexico and Mexicans. It’s also a day that has exacerbated stereotypes of Mexicans and Mexican culture for too long. It’s because of the later reason that we choose to #CelebrateMexico within our space in the mango industry to help educate where we can, hopefully clearing up some misconceptions along the way.
Cinco de Mayo is barely a holiday in Mexico. It’s mostly celebrated in Puebla, as that’s where the Mexican Army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In 1961, Napoleon III tried to carve an empire out of Mexican territory, and a well-armed French fleet entered into Veracruz and drove the Mexican government north into retreat.
Written by Nissa Pierson on behalf of RCF Distributors and El Grupo Crespo
Como muchos de ustedes saben, de repente sufrimos la pérdida de nuestro querido amigo, colega y principal agente de ventas, Alan Alvarez, el sábado 30 de enero de este año. El Grupo Crespo: RCF, Crespo Organic Mangos, Empaque Don Jorge y cientos de amigos de la industria del mango lamentamos junto a su esposa y sus tres hijos el fallecimiento de nuestro amado “Mango King”
Este Rey del Mango se construyó a la antigua, a través de trabajo duro y relaciones sólidas. Desde los inicios de su carrera, los clientes de Alan se dieron cuenta de su maravilloso talento para mover grandes volúmenes de la fruta. Clientes que comenzaron comprando sólo unos pocos palets terminaron comprando cargas en camiones, después de ser clientes de Alan. Eventualmente lo nombraron el Rey del Mango debido a su habilidad para sobresalir en el negocio. Fue un constructor de negocios porque construía relaciones profundas y afectuosas con las personas.