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.
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.
McAllen enjoys the last fruits of our labor while Nogales embraces a bit more propaganda
Here is the brief take-away from this article: Hot water baths are not bad, and untreated fruit is not better. The end of the season is complex for all- let facts be your guide.
For a handful of us who grow extensively in the El Rosario area during the Sinaloa season, mango supplies can often be extended all the way into the first week of September. While other broker-sellers move to the untreated Mochis zone (which jump up significantly in price and size), we can stay longer in lower prices and smaller fruit. Naturally, this benefits our volume-driven sellers a great deal, knowing most customers have a price point they must adhere to in order to capture sales. In some regions, consumers will only pay so much for a mango; this is particularly true in the Midwest and on the east coast. So, just a touch below the arbitrary untreated zone line, the Rosario region offers a micro growing region where we can do just that – provide smaller, cheaper mangoes throughout the entire month of August.
Advice and visuals from our favorite Summer Mango Mania partners
As we head deeper into summertime and peak Mexican mango season, the nation is ample with #MuchosMangoes. We’ve made certain that in all our key cities and regions throughout the nation (& Canada) fruit is arriving with exceptional color, taste and quality and consumer price points are exceptionally low.
We have also affirmed that most displays are brimming with Crespo Organic recipe cards, posters and banners. Each year the growing excitement over mangoes continues and retailers, small and large, all over the country, continue to build bigger, bolder organic mango displays priced perfectly for consumers. All of us working together for the common goal of selling a lot of mangoes…… spreading #MangoJoy!
Consumer engagement in learning to choose, store, cut and use mangoes has been at an all-time high and we take the job of equipping consumers with useful mango education seriously. Our prowess to enlighten consumers with multiple in-store and digital platforms, as well as through live demos, FREE- Online cooking classes and even classes for the little Crespo niños offers something for everyone. (See the full calendar here.)
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
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.
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.
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.
An Interview with Brian Dey
Senior Merchandiser & Natural Stores Coordinator, Four Seasons Produce, Inc.
While it’s true that Cinco De Mayo is less a real holiday in Mexico and more a symbolic celebratory event for Americans, there is a significant rich history behind the day and how it has come to honor the Mexican culture, people and food. As our Cinco de Mayo campaign #CelebrateMexico #CelebrateMangoes nears its peak celebratory days, we thought we’d ask one of our industry’s best produce merchandisers, Brian Dey, for thoughts and advice for this retail extravaganza.
Dey is the Senior Merchandiser and Natural Stores Coordinator for Four Seasons Produce in Ephrata, PA. He has been involved on the retail level of produce for over 33 years and has been with Four Seasons for over 22 years. He has logged substantial hours in almost every position in the produce department—from produce clerk to produce manager. With Four Seasons, he has worked a variety of merchandising positions including Produce Coordinator and Produce Merchandiser. Now, as Senior Merchandiser, he credits his success to an “extreme passion for produce and achieving excellence in growing relations and building sales with a subnational focus on in-store training.” His experience at the store level, in multiple and diverse venues, provides him with the insight and relationship skills needed to create in-store success for the multiple products that Four Seasons Produce provides to its customers.