Ataulfo orchards bloom and we untwist season start intel
This week I have been fielding a lot of questions about when the Mexican mangoes will start up again. It’s common for me to get these emails and calls this time of year. People get confused and excited. I think as it gets colder everywhere we all want the Mexican mango season to happen sooner, after all it signals warmer weather here.
The bad news is we are still a few months away so wait we must. The good news is the weather thus far has been great, lots of water filling the orchards and water tables. It’s way too early for us to release much of any serious information, or actual crop reports. Year after year, after year the weather in January dictates everything for the start. Climate change in particular makes gauging start times tough, especially the beginning of a season/region.
But we can report (with photos to prove it) Ataulfo orchards trees have begun to bloom in both of Mexico’s southern regions, Oaxaca and Chiapas. This is normal this time of year and the weather has been favorable. Unlike last year where the orchards water retention was described as enough this year it described to me as ample.
Bloom stages are ideally cold and nighttime temperatures have been just that. It’s important to remember about mango blooms, which explode by the billions (this is a guesstimate) from the orchards, that less than 1% of them turn into mangoes. So, although a healthy bloom is key, it’s not enough to give us much of any tangible information yet. Healthy, abundant bloomage is the first of a few key elements needed to make any sort of predictions, but this typically can’t occur until the fruit sets and begins to form.
I will start to provide more crop updates as the weeks pass, little bits of info will start to trickle in as we move into December, and I’ll be sharing those weekly. I know you may not trust me to do that, I have taken more of a hiatus this off season than I have in years past. I apologize. Partly I just needed a break, even the best of us gets burnt out. I know this time of year, me taking a break is barely noticed. The other part is that we, like most, this past year had been struggling on the marketing side to find consistent and capable help. I think we have that part worked out and I feel confident we can start to show up for you all as you’ve come to want from us.
What I think is helpful right now it a reminder about how the Mexican season works, when it typically starts and what it starts with and how listening to the details is key. A lot of this type of information gets twisted up and I think I can easily untwist it for you. The basics after all are simple.
When they say the Mexican season starts in January- they are usually correct- the crop can often start between mid-January and mid-February in Oaxaca, depending on weather and other crop variables.
When they say conventional starts first, it’s not necessarily true. The trees produce the same, but volumes are higher on the CV side, and they have earlier to ship. On the organic side many folks must wait for full truck volume. It’s a little different for us on the Crespo side, as we can ship our CV and OG on the same trucks, so we typically start around the same time.
Ataulfo mangoes start first. This is an important bit of info. Round mangoes don’t typically start until about three weeks to a month later. So, when the mangoes from Mexico do start, it’s only Ataulfos.
Sometimes they start earlier than us. That’s because it’s common that folks start when the Ataulfos are too green. We don’t do that. Ataulfos, unlike the round mangoes are bitter when green and many consumers who try these green Ataulfos, would never buy another one. We have a big Ataulfo program, so we don’t mess around.
Lastly is the timing and this is important to listen to. When they say they start, whenever that is, you need to add another week. That’s about the amount of time it takes to pack them and ship them to the US border and about another day for crossing. We are talking about 2700 miles after all. I like to use the verbiage loading in Nogales or McAllen to be clear.
So, we anticipate loading Ataulfos in Nogales and McAllen around the 1st of February and round mangoes three weeks thereafter.
The above date is the target, the target moves according to weather and crop health. Ill begin weekly updates on that moving target in December!