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.
The yin and yang of seasonal rains, an abundance of complexities
Someone asked me recently why I haven’t posted anything under my Secrets & Lies category for a while. Most of the truth of my answer was I forgot about it. But buried in that answer is also, I (like everyone) sometimes don’t like to talk about the truth because its complex and I fear people won’t understand, will take it the wrong way or use it against me. When you also speak on behalf of a brand or a big mango system, it can be frightening to put out hard truths.
The lack of communicating existing or potential quality problems is one of the biggest industry secrets and lies there is, as if burying these truths helps anyone. So here I am being the risktaker/bettermaker that I am. Here to not alarm us, but put us into a proactive stance, where information is the key to the successful remainder of the Mexican mango season.
We have been in the midst of a serious drought that has brought a multitude of complexities to the entire Mexican mango season thus far. Those complexities seem likely to continue as seasonal rains have started, pounding the current Sinaloa growing sub regions (around El Rosario and Esquinapa) with lots of water over the last few weeks.
While it’s true that any amount of rain always brings some drought relief, it can also bring with other problems, especially when the pendulum swings to totally to the other side as it has going from no rain to lots at once.
Indian mangoes, grown in Mexico & where Jorge the Mango Man has been….
It’s been a while since we have had fun with the Where is Jorge the Mango Man videos. Part of that is because the small team of us on the marketing side, the ones that make the videos, have been bogged down all season with other projects; new box designs, new marketing campaigns, new mango packaging, new products (retail dried mangoes- launching later this summer) and a bevy of other big behind the scene projects.
Another aspect of this hiatus from the Where is Jorge fun is that he’s mostly been buried in top-secret projects, many of which have been too early in the process to talk about. I recently got a sneak peek at many of those projects on my Boot on the Ground trip to Mexico. And am happy to report today, we can at least talk about one of those projects.
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
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.
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.
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.
b’Ringing in the New Year with an abundance of organic mango options
I last reported, back in December that the upcoming season would be commencing early. This still true and our dates are still on target, due to cooperating, albeit a little colder weather. The Oaxacan packinghouse January 20th opening continues to be our season start date; which means everybody’s sweet and favorite Mexican Ataulfo mango, which begins first in every region, will be arriving to the US border around the last days of January.
Cautiously optimistic early Mexican season start forecasted in Oaxaca & Chiapas
First, I want to apologize for the lack of news from Under the Mango Tree. I should have been reporting consistently during the off-season (for Ecuador and Peru), considering we are all in this mango thing together. Back in early November, I should have alerted you to the start of Mexican bloomage in the southern regions, but I have been busy uprooting my California life for a new life on a lake in the Ozarks in southern Missouri. (Read more here about what that means for the Crespo Organic Kitchen. In short, it means bringing more mango joy to the Midwest.) A big move like this – especially in the middle of a pandemic – takes time and comes with its hybrid set of hurdles, including both the normal and the pandemic kinds. I just didn’t have the bandwidth, but I’m moving through the obstacles. Continue Reading…
Hot & dry Mochis weather yields ripe Keitts, season end is here
Short read: The season is ending abruptly. We are ending on a high note.
One of the most important factors in my “successful” organic mango career is learning to end on a high note. At the personal level, I have maneuvered through various mango networks, regions and growers before setting comfortably in Mexico alongside the Crespo family and El Grupo Crespo. Through this long journey in mangoes (and life) I have learned that good endings, especially in regards to the timing of the ending, in this case of a mango season, is crucial for future, sustainable, long-term success.
The ability to forecast risks, problems and potential losses that every mango season’s end inevitably brings is an invaluable skill. At this juncture of my career, this luckily involves way more experts than me alone. With El Grupo Crespo & the Crespo Organic brand, we have continued to build a process that integrates many likeminded thinkers and visionaries who can hone in on the micro aspects of almost any growing situation or crop scenario. This team can equally and simultaneously keep a bird’s eye view for optimal decision-making in the here and now and for the future success for the program.
Under The Mango Tree is a sweet spot, where I, a long time mango industry crackerjack, share everything I know. A place to find mango centric, agricultural, food and culture knowledge and a few juicy industry secrets and lies.