Empaque Don Jorge expands the season with late varietal trials
There are always “good” and “bad” parts to any growing season. If you ask most growers (including the Crespo’s) “was this a good season or a bad one?”, most will say that it was not a great one. The entire season was ripe with problems, mostly the kind that cost more money and bring in less.
Mango farmers had to work twice as hard for a lot less money this season overall. The drought caused significant problems on the growing side and customers, especially wholesalers and distributors struggled with labor and logistics issues, making the distribution process often hellish and any normal quality defect, even slight cosmetic ones, impossible to maneuver through.
Retailers struggled to understand buying patterns as shoppers reemerged out of lockdowns and moved around without unpredictable location and shopping patterns. The complexities of the season were heavy and many and most of us on the growing side of the business will be content to put this season behind us and get our sights fixed onto the next.
But not without a last surprise of a new trial varietal, that reminds us that there were some positive aspects to the season and new varietals were just that for us all, exciting.
If you are like me and often asking- Where is Where is Jorge the Crespo Mango Man – the trial varietals is one good answer; as he has been busy for several years now expanding our varietal offerings. Tinkering not just with what we want to offer in terms of flavor and textures, trying to understand what consumers really want for a mango, but also trying to extend the seasons or begin early, or peak more in some of the micro regions…. The little details of the varietals is ultra-complex and something most don’t truly understand. Pairing what people want with what grows well, what hot water baths well and what thrives in the unpredicable climates of today, through out each wildly different growing region- its hard work and the Crespo’s are one of the few who are really asking the questions for the future and in my mind that comes from the patriarch- Roberto Crespo Fitch and his teachings. He was always looking ahead, while still keeping a firm grasp in tradition and family- this is not an easy task and yet I see the Crespo siblings doing the same today.
What is absolutely true is that as more mango eaters are born they want access to more varietal in addition to consistency in flavor, size, quality and price. One mango varietal that fairs decently is no longer enough, we understand this profoundly with the building of our organic Ataulfo program and the successful multi-varietal mango mania promotions we do in peak summer.
This summer our Malika trials, an ultra-sweet, melon tasting varietal that hails from India grown in our Rosario orchards , proved consumer cravings of diversity even more. And now the Brooks. WE have more varietals in trials and surely Jorge will continue to experiment, I believe we have a few other varietals possibly coming in the next few seasons; some Francis and another Indian varietal.
If you happened to read that article on Eater about the high stakes world of What’s App mango importing, you won’t be surprised to learn that Jorge is one of those folks- not in terms of running to the airport to pick up Pakistani mangoes ( he would but he lives in Mexico) but – who communicates with farmers and mango aficionados all over the world via What’s App, including Pakistani’s. His phone is filled with What’s App chats with photos of the most bizarre looking mangoes I have ever seen, his enthusiasm is exceptionally inspiring and it’s because of his enthusiasm and the family’s ability to take wild ideas and turn them into thriving systematic parts of the business. I would not be surpised to find Jorge in the next mango article by Ahmed Ali Akbar, author of the Eater article as Jorge is currently looking for Pakistani varietals to grow in our Mexican orchards.
For now, for today, we have what we have and it’s the Brooks Mango. Its beauty to our industry is that its a late season (the latest) varietal that offers smaller sizing.
The Brooks is a varietal that hails from Florida, it’s one of the lasts producing commercial varietals and it also happens to the the parent on of the Kent and the Keitt varietal- as well as several other local Florida varietals.
Reportedly it came from the seed of Totapuri or Sandersha mango that a Mr. Brooks planted on his farm in Miami, Florida in 1910. It’s not one of the sweetest varietals (like the Keitt mango) but its widely grown commercially in India and Sri Lanka.
The Brooks is commercially produced in Florida, Australia, Hawaii, Jamaica, and parts of Africa. Its oblong in shape but unlike its parent the Totapuri, it doesn’t have a “beak”. It’s a mostly green mango that turns yellow with greenish hues when fully ripe. It’s not fibreless but it’s still quite creamy. Flavors wise its mild like a Keitt mango, which is a mild flavored mango.
Our Brooks this season are only available for about a week, the late season rains have created some cosmetic defects that make the larger crop more difficult to sort and sell so most of the small crop will stay in Mexico, but we have some that will make their debut in the USA and assuming weather patterns don’t completely change, we will see them again next season for the ending.
History: Originally hailing from the Totapuri, an Indian varietal
Shape: Oval shape
Color & Hues: Skin starts green and turns a dull yellow, sometimes even pale orange with greenish undertones. The flesh is a bright yellow.
Texture: Medium fiber, semi firm texture.
Flavor and Aroma: Mildly sweet. Slightly lemony and briny like a Keitt mango.
Ideal Ripeness/Ripening Cues: They can be eaten at various stages of the ripening process, they are mildly sweet when green without any bitterness, making them excellent eating green mangoes. They will be soft to the touch when ripe and have mostly yellowish skin tones.
Size: Medium sized mango. 8/9/10cnt average sizing.