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Featured, Kitchen

Mango “Quarentini’s”

May 19, 2020

Pick your poison: from classic to weird mango cocktails & mocktails
to keep you at home for the long haul

Wherever you are and whatever your viewpoint is on quarantine or no quarantine, mask or no mask… one thing that most can agree on is that a cocktail at home tastes rather good these days. More and more people are advancing their bar skills alongside their cooking and baking skills, and it’s a sweet deal for mangoes, which make a perfect cocktail and mocktail additive in their many various forms. Continue Reading…

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.)

 

Culture, Farm, Featured, News

Transitioning Regions

April 16, 2020

Volumes, Quality, Opportunities, Uncertainties, Confusions & COVID-19

Chatter about ‘normal life’ is peppering the air these days: When will we be returning to it? What will it look like when we get there? What’s the economic forecast? …And so on, and so forth.

Like pretty much everyone else, I don’t have answers to these particular questions. Expertise seems to be just more chatter and hypothesizing.

I am just one voice in the mango industry, but I am, by nature, a seeker and sharer of information. I have applied this to my role in the mango industry and continue to share macro-level information regarding the mango industry as a whole and the micro level information regarding organic Mexican mangoes.

Continue Reading…

Featured, Kitchen

Ataulfo Swirl Meringue Cookies

March 30, 2020

A simple crunch cookie your kids can make!

I recently found myself with some leftover egg whites from an ice cream project I did – which you can find on my other blog My Herbal Roots. So, I wanted to try an idea that had been swirling around in my head (pun intended; they’re great fun!).

Years ago, while teaching classes at my culinary center in Brooklyn, we attempted to flavor French meringue cookies with different fresh ingredients. We knew that it was difficult, but we felt that it could be done if we had the right texture and consistency. To a certain extent, we were right; however, it is more true that dried powders work best for flavoring meringue because the meringue will fall apart if you add something with too much moisture. It’s still possible, though, especially with thick paste like fresh sauces. We cooked down blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and many other items until they were a thick, fresh tasting pastes and added those to the meringue batter. We got pretty good results. Continue Reading…

Featured, News

El Grupo Crespo Proceeds…. with Caution

March 17, 2020

Uncertain Times in the Mexican Mango Supply Chain

Enlace para el artículo en español

Crespo Organic Mangoes continues to harvest, pack, and ship organic mangoes from Mexico’s southern regions, Oaxaca and Chiapas, applying the precautionary principles and according to current increased market demands.

As the global COVID-9 pandemic unfolds, we are taking prudent safety measures, monitoring our portion of the supply chain, and staying vigilant to new alerts on a day-to-day, hour- to hour basis. Our goal is to ensure that we can continue without comprising the health and safety of our communities, border/ logistical and distributor points and of course consumers.

Continue Reading…

Culture, Farm, Featured, News

Empaque Don Jorge II Opens for the Season

February 26, 2020

Ocozocoautla de Espinosa (Coita), Chiapas, Mexico

Last February, El Grupo Crespo opened Empaque Don Jorge II (EDJ II) in Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Chiapas, or – as the locals call it – Coita. 

 This is not to be confused with Empaque Don Jorge (EDJI) –  El Grupo Crespo’s original and main packhouse located in El Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico. EDJ I’s total remodel finished last year, making it Latin America’s largest hydrothermal mango packhouse.

Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured, News

Mexican Mango Season Opens….

January 29, 2020

Everybody’s favorite mango varietal- the Ataulfo, up first

Mexican mango season always opens with small volumes, and this season’s start promises much of the same. Cooperating weather has given way to an “on-time” start with the expected minimal volumes of organic Ataulfos. Growers expect fruit to arrive on US soil around the first ten days of February.

The season generally begins in late January and runs through mid-September. The southern regions of Oaxaca and Chiapas are always first to begin. From there, the season moves north approximately every three to four months as warmer weather travels up Mexico, through Michoacán, Nayarit, and Sinaloa. Several regions eventually overlap, creating many peaks in production. Continue Reading…

Featured, Kitchen, People

The Making of a Mango Queen

December 24, 2019

A destiny of connecting  dots between farmers, culture, food, and joy

Originally this was going to be a quick recipe post, but I ended up spending the better part of the day to contemplate and write. As it goes, this mango cake recipe revealed to me the story of my destiny. As you may have learned by now, most of my recipes are not just recipes. Instead, most contain an anecdote or some personal truth that is revealed to me once I get the opportunity to write the recipe down…

Today I received a text from a longtime friend talking about fate.  This text randomly flashed me back to times as a little girl in Nicaragua, memories full of parrots and feelings of mango-joy. Today’s flashback clarified how long mango-joy has been a part of my life – the result of fate and destiny working together as partners. I guess that running joke of me as the mango queen isn’t far from the truth.

Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured, News

Blooms Begin in Southern Mexico

November 20, 2019

Fall crop update; Ecuador, Peru and Southern Mexico bloom watch

Mexico’s organic mango season is a big one. Not only is Mexico the longest and farthest stretching of all the mango regions we import from, but it yields the most consumer demand and highest sales volumes. Now is when we start to monitor growth closely, paying attention to all the details leading up to the 2020 season onset. In organics, onset typically occurs in February. There are undoubtedly many unknowns this time of year, but we can begin to read the clues. These help us predict what nature has in store. Continue Reading…

Featured, Kitchen, People

Pie Spice, The Flavor of Fall

November 20, 2019

Gracefully extracting the warming tones of a tropical mango for our Thanksgiving table

If you haven’t worked in marketing, you may not be able to empathize with how pressurized it can become – to have to constantly churn out new, creative (and IMO hopefully) useful content. In the food business that means new recipe ideas and techniques to simplify them. In produce that means tips on storage, handling, and usage, as well as flavor profiles, textures, and a fruit or a vegetable’s unique quirks. If you’re like me and want content to be genuine, it’s even more difficult. Mango-infused Thanksgiving ideas are not easy to come by, but I think we managed to pull it off.  Continue Reading…