Mexican organic mango season prepares for great peak. We will all be dripping in sweet mango mania.
I do a fair amount of writing work in addition to all my other doings…. This article was originally written for and published (in edited form) by Organic Produce Network, to see the edited version on OPN’s weekly newsletter- click here.
Consumers are having an excellent Mexican organic mango season, larger than normal displays of great looking and tasting fruit are bountiful and prices have been incredibly appetizing. This mango mania is expected to continue as the season has completed the transition into the most voluminous northern producing regions of Nayarit and Sinaloa. Reports of orchards of abundance mangoes will surely bring ample promotions over the hot summer months when consumer cravings are most copious.
The season started in early January, in the southern region of Oaxaca with extensive Tommy Atkins shortages due orchard delays and fruit readiness. As the season progressed a great deal of unpredictability inside the orchard continued to perplex producers, despite the overall “good” season” feeling most growers seem to be having. Most of the varietals continue to behave irregularly in the orchards, varietal readiness and size extremely difficult to gauge. Markets have lacked big fruit for much of the season. “All season we have been witnessing varietals not preforming normally in terms of growth rates. The behavior of the trees are so diverse per varietal and we have had limited ability to witness and predict patterns accurately”, shares Jose Angel Crespo of RCF Distributors. “Luckily we have an incredible and established customer base that reacts well on the organic side and that has made these challenges feel manageable.” Jonathan Kitchens, mango buyer for Earls Organic Produce furthers this sentiment, “One of the keys to our success with mangos this season and likely into the future is flexibility and adaptability in terms of sizing and varietals. Erratic patterns are becoming the norm and with consumer excitement for mangoes at an all-time high, we must bring in a wide range of sizing in for both ataulfos and round varietals in order to capture the demand.”
Nimble folks like Earls should have an excellent opportunity to do just that this summer despite the varietal and sizing challenges, as the Mexican season moves into the BIG PEAK, defined by the collision of the two largest organic producing regions- Nayarit and Sinaloa and the height of North American consumer demand- summertime.
Currently large sizing is still hard to come, despite the organic market’s new and constant obsession with it. Kitchen shares that Earl’s is seeing a massive increase in demand on larger fruit this season and points out that the Bay Area consumer is willing to pay for it. Jose Angel Crespo also confirms most producers are seeing this pattern in organics across the USA and Canada. He predicts larger fruit availabilities will be available in the next 12 days but most likely not enough to feed the insatiable demand.
Summer supplies will vary by varietal. Currently the market is seeing predominantly the Tommy Atkins varietal, in terms of round fruit. The readiness of this varietal all season has been late in each region as well as early to end, which puzzles some producers. The Tommy is expected to leave for the season at the end of June and the Kent varietal, which is arriving on-time, looks to be the predominant varietal for the month of July. Keitts are projected to pop up in July from Nayarit and August from Sinaloa. There seems to be generally good supplies of round mangoes coming, especially for those less concerned with varietal and semi flexible with size. Mass market 9/10 volumes look excellent through August.
The Ataulfo mango is most certainly the organic star of the season. The unique to Mexico varietal has grown considerably in terms of consumer demand as more and more shoppers are falling in love with the buttery texture and super sweet flavor. Many organic distributors and retailers have seen incredible sales results by offering out an Ataulfo alongside round mangoes. Kitchens shares that that Earl’s “Ataulfo demand is on the rise and specifically large Ataulfos.” Which he points out “are up 400% over last year’s numbers.” “I think retailers now have a solid understanding of the fruit in terms of ripening, texture and flavor. The fruit is attractive and gorgeous on large floor displays and provides a wonderful transition out of winter’s lack of fruit diversity.”
All season this varietal has started extra early and currently several producers are reporting that the Sinaloa crop is also starting much earlier than usual- alongside Nayarit, which will give the market simultaneous volumes from Mexico’s two heaviest producing regions. Ataulfo supplies should be excellent for a while but end abruptly. The good news for producers is the market demand is incredibly strong so there doesn’t seem to be overproduction woes with dual production zones. The bad news is for consumers who are in love with this yellow slipper like mango is once it ends they will have to wait 6-7 months for it to come around again.