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The Little Fruit Season

June 8, 2021

A real time peak into the Mexican mango orchards

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.

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Farm, Featured, News

Smooth Transition North

May 11, 2021

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.

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Farm, Featured, News

Little Ataulfo Mangoes

April 23, 2021

An opportunity knocking down the door

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.

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Farm, Featured, News

New SKU’s for a New Year

January 5, 2021

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.

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Farm, Featured, News

Season Predictions Are In

December 14, 2020

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…

Farm, Featured, News

Imminent End for Mexican Mango Season

September 2, 2020

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.

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Farm, Featured, News

Mexican Mango Season Cessation Nears

July 30, 2020

Big Kents, gigantic Keitts, rain delays and a lack of 10’s pressure us all

And, of course, it’s not like COVID-19 is no longer an issue…

 It would be a gigantic understatement to say this season has been an odd one. While I have said this for consecutive seasons, I really do mean it about this one! Oddly enough, the weather has been fairly cooperative, and crops from the south to the north have been yielding decent amounts of high quality and exceptionally tasty fruit, on time and without much resistance. We have had little opportunity to taut the highlights of the season and stop and recognize the extradentary flavors we are receiving on all mango varietals. The season is bizarre and so currently is the world before us.

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Farm, Featured, News, Product

Ataulfo Season Ending

June 23, 2020

Are we every really prepared for good things to end?

In recent years, Ataulfo mangoes have become a staple of many mango programs across the USA and Canada. Fruit eaters have warmed to this deliciously sweet and texturally silky mango. The path to increase consumer appreciation has not been easy for the Ataulfo, whose skin is most often blemished and overly wrinkled when it is perfectly ripe. Its shelf life is short, and bruises and scuffs tend to show up more on the Ataulfo – oftentimes showing up and disappearing and showing up and disappearing as the mango moves through the various stages of ripeness. Unlike its counterparts, the Ataulfo mango can only be eaten when ripe, so patience is a must and confusion among consumers regarding when it’s actually ready can be high. It’s Mexican name, celebrating its Mexican heritage, can be hard to pronounce for many North Americans, creating complications in education and marketing and spreading the joy for this mango varietal. Yet, despite all these obstacles, Mexico’s yellow slipper has succeeded, particularly in the organic sector, and especially as more consumers taste it and learn its nuances. Many retailers have succeeded greatly promoting this mango and sales have jumped in recent years. And now, just when everyone is used to its high dollar sales and consumer excitement, the season is ending.

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Farm, Featured, News, Product

The Crespo Big Box!

June 11, 2020

 

A stronger box in the midst of chaos to ease the burden in building bigger displays of #MuchosMangoes

A few weeks ago I thought things were tough in our industry. With the Corona virus spreading through the USA at an alarming rate, mango sales and specifically the size of mango displays were not getting bigger, despite the wall of mangoes coming from the orchards.

The big, bold displays of #MuchosMangoes celebrating what we call Summer Mango Mania – or the collision point between peak production time in Nayarit & Sinaloa and the height of consumer demand, better known as; SUMMER TIMEhave not begun to appear as they usually do by this time. This season, and this week in particular, everything looks different in our world and yet the mangoes still grow and people still eat.

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Farm, Featured

Empaque Don Jorge Opens

May 5, 2020

Empaque Don Jorge Opens Amidst Heightened Demand & COVID-19
El Grupo Crespo’s Home Packhouse Offers Relief to Crespo & Other Brands

*All photos are pre- remodel, new photos coming soon!

El Rosario, Sinaloa, MexicoEmpaque Don Jorge I (EDJI) opened last week for the season. EDJI is the hometown packhouse of El Grupo Crespo family’s two brands, Crespo Organic & RCF, and Latin America’s largest hydro-thermal packhouse.

Originally built by Roberto Crespo Fitch in the early 1970’s, the packhouse was recently revamped by Roberto’s children Malu, Roberto, Jorge, and Jose Angel. Today they run the family agricultural business (El Grupo Crespo). The siblings initiated the three-year modernization project in Fall 2016 and completed all upgrades last season. This season, all upgrades and modernizations are smoothly running.

 

The group had hoped to travel with Crespo Organic customers to the packhouse at opening time, but the pandemic had other plans. A new campaign that the Crespo Organic marketing team hoped to launch this month educating on the modern facility was also cast aside. This campaign’s aim was to map the mango packing process visually from orchard-to-table, giving customers and consumers an up-to-date peak inside the newly revamped packhouse. For now, the older marketing campaign and videography will have to suffice, new footage is always emerging from Jorge Crespo, aka the #MangoMan, who is happy to show the orchards and packhouse from his perspective.

All upgrades were designed to improve efficiencies, increase outputs, boost quality, and improve working conditions for workers, many whose families have worked at EDJI for over four generations. This season brings a new appreciation for better use of space as COVID-19 has made packing operations complex.

The packhouse’ 100,000 SF floor space was rearranged with the revamp, and now includes an additional packing line, bringing the total to 7 lines, packing over 14 different labels for growers across Mexico and for some of the largest conventional US mango importers. There is one dedicated full-time packing line for the Crespo Organic brand and a sperate section dedicated solely to packing non-treated Canadian exports. An additional hydro-thermal tank was added, bringing the total to 11 stainless steel tanks allowing over 64,000 KG of fresh mangoes to be USDA hot water treated simultaneously.

The packhouse’s season opens with new state-of-the-art cooling equipment and cold chain systems and cold storage volume greatly enhanced and enlarged, accommodating an extra 4 truckloads in pre- and post- cooling facilities.

Despite the COVID-19 complexities and distancing/safety  protocols, the facility anticipates higher outputs than previous seasons. New high-tech, efficient, and worker-friendly stainless-steel machines – washers, sorters, polishers, conveyers, and packing lines across the space – were designed for this. Thus, El Grupo Crespo projects packing capacities will still be sizable during the height of the pandemic and significantly expandable as distancing measures dissipate.

EDJI aims to process at full capacity with 14 truckloads/day within weeks. The optimizations are not only improving efficiencies and making packers’ jobs easier but also helping control costs. This is especially important with the rise of the peso and uncertainties in the marketplace.

The entire mango packing process is extremely complex, it all happens in 72 hours, with over 18 hours allocated to post-pack cooling. EDJI is one of today’s most efficient and quality-driven packhouses packing for North America since these changes have occurred, it also now….OPEN for business. (All photos and videos are pre-modernizations and upgrades, the new photography and videography projects were interrupted by COVID-19 and will commence as soon as possible.)