The Crespo Organic Kitchen & marketing offices relocate to the Ozarks
Much like children needing to live where their parents go, the Crespo Organic Kitchen has to move when I do. So, when I decided to move to Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks, it was mandatory that the Crespo Organic Kitchen and the marketing offices, come with me. It was one of those moves location wise that was peculiar at the onset, but now that it’s done just feels good for everyone, including Crespo Organic.
It was hard to move for me, from the gigantic California kitchen overlooking the deep blue Pacific Ocean, where the bulk of my mango photography, videography and education content for the Crespo brand was created. But, with little choice in the matter, I had a small amount of time to choose a place to live and work, and in the midst of a pandemic hovering over the world, a smart decision needed to be made; one that was good for my mango and food work as well as my spirit and my family.
Everyone knows I love the beach and will do anything to live on it, as I have throughout my life. But with this move, a big change came when I decided, rather quickly and abruptly to buy a house on a lake in southern Missouri in order to be closer to family, which I think we can all agree is necessary right now, despite how irritated they may make us (or us them) sometimes.
Me being me I found a gem of a place right on the water, with a view that reminds me of a vacation in Santorini, Greece (weirdly). It’s a fixer upper – but with a brother who’s a builder in the area, it was a great financial idea. Including for the work I do with organic farmers, marketing and food education. The house has 2 kitchens and lots of room for more office space, I knew it was the place to reside for now and Missouri a place that needs me to bring mango joy into it’s mix.
There is a lot to do this season. Not only have sales been building consistently over the last 5-6 years since we established the Crespo Organic direct trade brand, but we have continue to add more volume offerings by varietals and as well as new packaged SKU’s, like the BIG BOX and retail ready mango bags.
This season we will be launching retail ready bagged organic Ataulfos as well as organic dried mangoes in bulk and retail packaging- which were delayed last season. All of this, on its own, is a tremendous amount of marketing work and with more space for more help, we can get it all done and with an amazing view of Table Rock Lake.
Other marketing endeavors this season are several projects for the conventional side of the business and a few new websites for El Grupo Crespo & Empaque Don Jorge. Since our main packhouse in Sinaloa was totally revamped, we also have a lot of work in updating and redoing all the marketing work on that front and collecting new photography and videography, which we were not able to do last season because of travel restrictions and COVID-19.
Missouri and the surrounding areas will equally benefit just as norther California did with our physical presence there. It’s much easier to establish mango education programs and events (virtual and otherwise) with local retailers, when your closer. Tastings, cutting demos, cooking classes, and countless other fun mango joy spreading events (Summer Mango Mania) will happen locally and continue in all the areas we have worked prior with established marketing programs in place. We aren’t totally sure what COVID will bring for the summer and our MANGO MANIA campaign, but we’ve been slowly planning our 2021 education and mango joy programs through a combination of in store and virtual events and pleasures.
Currently the Crespo Organic Kitchen is under a total remodel- taking out walls and making countertops bigger, adding cabinetry and bigger sinks and creating the best light for photography and videography. The original kitchen is small and cumbersome and has horrible light, but I did manage to produce a few new recipes with the help of some of my families’ niños that seem to be hanging around often these days (and nothing makes me happier.)
Overall, I am happy about the move and know it is a really excellent choice for the Crespo Organic brand as well as El Grupo Crespo in general. Add to that the fact that it’s a really good move for my family and I am totally satisfied. This new opportunity I have to work my mango magic in Missouri is an exciting adventure that I look forward to tackling by land or by boat! Stay tuned the fun is only just beginning!
And, of course the Crespo dog model – Inca came with too! He couldn’t be happier!
Here are few of the recipes me and my gigantic family bubble churned out from my tiny kitchen in the Ozarks. (Pre remodel)
Lexa is Nuts…………. About Mangoes!
Lexa my 12-year-old niece drove down with her family from Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with me in my new home. I hadn’t seen her in a long time and she loves to cook and all things mango. She handled this recipe. Caramelized nuts are fantastic, they are savory but buttery and rich, slightly sweet and spicy if you want them to be, and of course nutty, like Lexa was seeing her cousins! This version using mango puree which caramelized wonderfully and naturally when cooked, gives them a slight tropical vibe.
The addition of the baking soda, I recently discovered gives them more crunch, which I had always been looking for!
Makes 2 cups of nuts
2 cups un-tasted nuts of choice ( we used almonds, walnuts, cashews and pecans)
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup thick mango puree
2 tablespoons salted butter
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nut meg
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 275 F.
Place your nuts in a big ceramic bowl and prep a baking sheet. I line mine with parchment paper as this is a messy, hard to clean up the pan, endeavor.
Combine the mango puree, butter, vanilla and spices in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Melt the butter on medium high heat and bring to a boil, while stirring constantly. Allow to boil, stirring only a few times, for a few minutes 4-5. The mixture should be thick and gooey. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda.
Pour the hot mixture over the nuts in the bowl and quickly stir up making sure to coat all the nuts with the caramel and place them on the baking sheet flat. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Stir up the nuts often. Depending on your oven its possible they burn so the stirring helps make sure they don’t. Remove them from the oven and scrape them onto another baking sheet lined with parchment, making sure there are no clumps and let them hang out and dry for about 15 minutes. This part of the process ensures they are all seperate and crisp. After that you can toss them in a bowl and enjoy them.
Svea’s Cranberry Mango Punch
The most wonderful news about living in Missouri, is that this is where Chef Svea lives. That means not only do I get to spend more time with her (she is my niece) but she gets to cook up more mango recipes and bless us with her creative spirit.
For Thanksgiving she made a beautiful cranberry punch and (due to my persuading) sweetened it with our Mango Pit Syrup– which allows for a less sweet, more tropical and perfumy sweetener that you can use less of than a regular simple syrup. Seasonal cranberries and honey tangerines were the highlight to this fall spiced punch.
2 cups cranberries
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
2 cups mango pit syrup
1 ½ cups honey tangerine juice (other tangerines are fine)
Sparkling water (optional)
Place the cranberries, spices and mango-pit syrup in a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook on medium- low for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until all the cranberries pop and melt down. Turn off the burner and let stand and cool completely. Strain, pushing the cranberries into a fine mesh strainer in order to extract ever last drop of flavor. Place the cranberry syrup in a pitcher and add the tangerine juice and chill. Drink as is or combined with sprakling water.