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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.

EDJ I took four years for its total revamp, funded in part by the direct trade business model that El Grupo Crespo began to employ several years back. This model enabled the family to re-invest in their own farms, packhouses, and operations, despite the mango category’s dwindling margins. Eliminating extra hands along the supply chain (border brokers, in particular) made this investment possible.

Over the last several years, infrastructure improvements were equally prioritized alongside growing our mango programs. Improvements to EDJ I were only one of these infrastructure improvements. Another priority was to increase volume capacity in the southern early regions, hence EDJ II which is now opening for its second season.

Older equipment at EDJ I was replaced by higher tech, modern equipment. The still fully functional equipment was sent down to Chiapas where the fully remodeled warehouse was turned into a mango packhouse in the winter of 2018. Washers, sorters, packing lines… everything exists here. This new packhouse should greatly expand the offerings for the Crespo Organic Mango program.

EDJ II is conveniently located near Tuxtla, in western Chiapas, which is attached to the main throwaways that lead north. It sits on about 2 acres of land, and the actual packhouse is about 25K ft2. Packing capacity is 4 truckloads per day. The packhouse is equipped with 4 hydrothermal tanks, 1 washing line, and 3 packing lines – one of which is fully dedicated to Crespo Organic Mangoes. Cold storage is abundant with a five truckload capacity.

The EDJ II packhouse is about a 4 to 5-day drive to El Grupo Crespo’s US warehouses, RCF Nogales and RCF McAllen. During the season (February through late April), it operates Monday through Saturday.

At peak season, the packhouse employs about 80 workers. Most workers come from the local area of Coita (Ocozocoautla) and the neighboring towns Berriozábal and Tapachula. Ruben Sanchez manages EDJII for El Grupo Crespo.  He also manages EDJ I, overseeing EDJII from January through April and then Empaque Don Jorge I (EDJ I) (or the Sinaloa packhouse) from April through the end of the season. he’s a busy (and important) guy!

About two hours away, El Grupo Crespo has about 200 hectares of organic Ataulfo and Tommy Atkins orchards that feed into this packhouse.

EDJ II is now certified organic with all food safety certifications, as well as audited for labor, health, safety, and environmental practices. }
*EDJ II certifications: Global Gap, Primus GSF, USDA Organic, and SMETA audited. SMETA is an ethical trade audit that covers Sedex’s four pillars of Labor, Health, Safety, and Environment, as well as business ethics.

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…

Culture, Featured, Kitchen, People

Día de Muertos

November 1, 2019

Mi padre es tu padre

Para una versión en inglés haga clic aquí

Una de las cosas que nos conecta a todos en esta vida es la muerte, la comida es otra. Desde que mi padre falleció hace unos años, me di cuenta que me conecto con ciertas personas de manera más auténtica, especialmente aquellas cuyos padres, a quienes también estaban cerca, hayan muerto. Para muchos de nosotros el sentimiento de “vacío” que ahora llevamos dentro de nosotros nos conecta…de alguna manera nos magnetiza. La pérdida en general nos conecta, lo que tiende a recordarme que la vida debería.

Continue Reading…

Culture, Featured, Kitchen, People

Day of the Dead

November 1, 2019

Mi padre es tu padre, celebrate life

Click HERE for a version of the post in Spanish

One of the things that connects us all in this life is food and certainly thats a big one for me, death is another obvious connector. I noticed since my father passed a few years back that I connect with certain people more authentically, especially with those whose fathers, to whom they too were close, have passed. For many of us the feeling of “lack” that we now carry inside us, connects us…magnetizes us. Loss in general connects us, which tends to somehow trigger and remind me that to celebrate life.

I think the ancient and traditional Day of the Dead (“Día de Muertos”) ceremonies, beliefs and celebrations practiced throughout Mexico – and many parts of the world where Mexican populations live and work – are a wonderful example of just that. Day of the Dead customs or traditions seem totally undervalued in Western culture, and as I have been contemplating my own aging and my own sense of belonging (especially after my father passed shortly before a serious breakup), I feel a yearning for more ritual, more tradition and more community in my own life. When I look at so many of the traditions of the world that date back thousands of years, I see so many of them still thriving today in connecting people. I see the Mexican population today, not so as much “religious” but as extremely spiritual people,  moving, and evolving through this life as best they can with  their family, loved ones,  and communities  front and center to it all…and I think that’s beautiful. Continue Reading…

Featured, Kitchen

Whiskey Mango BBQ Sauce

October 26, 2019

A California power outage miracle recipe……And It Was All Yellow

I had intended to post this recipe a few weeks ago, when the weather was warmer in most places around the country.  But I think the recipe is still relevant for a few reasons, tomatoes are still flourishing in California and the recipe is not as much a BBQ recipe, as its cooked mostly in the oven and simply finished on the grill.

I think the real relevance is more the story of how the recipe came to be and the coincidence in that I sit here posting this, hunkered down inside yet again, despite a beautifully warm day outside, because of the  gigantic smoke wall heading my way.  Massive California fires are blaring a few hours north of me and I am set to lose power at any moment. This recipe happened by happenstance originally in the last forced power outage, so it seems fitting to be finishing the writing and posting of it now, hopefully before the power goes out. Continue Reading…