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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.

 

Most of this season’s weirdness and the lack of mango chatter in general from us and others can be attributed to COVID-19, which has made it complicated to pair demand with supply and gauge consumer movement,  which is pivotal to maneuvering through the “peaks and valleys” of a mango season. There is less opportunity to connect with consumer excitement about mangoes in general yet the excitement continues to be high despite all the COVID challenges. We’ve all done our best working from home and with chaos all around us. I am happy to report the season is just about over and it appears we are going to get through it.

Warped Plans
There was a lot we had planned to do that we were not able to do this season – and some things we hadn’t planned to do but did. Our annual Crespo Organic Summer Mango Mania campaign was barely visible outside of social media and in excellent ad pricing to our customers. We didn’t see ad pricing trickle down everywhere; it did with some retailers but not all.  Consumers remained enthusiastic about mangoes nonetheless and bought them without much enticing.

Everything was and is still so complicated at the retail level. We mainly pushed sales wherever we could. We never really saw the usual gigantic or extra store displays during Mango Mania time, which help us boost our sales and coincide with our biggest peak in Nayarit & Sinaloa production. Despite those obstacles and challenges, organic mango sales have been at a record high, and somehow the mangoes got to where they needed to go.

 

COVID Success Story
We did a few notable things this season. We pushed out a new box, The Crespo Big Box, as well as retail packaged mangoes, Mango Retail Bags. These helped answer to many of our customers’ new need for packaged products of any kind. The initial launch went well, and we anticipate the retail bags growing in popularity in future seasons.

Failure to Launch
We did not roll out the new Crespo Organic mango product line of dried mangoes and sauces. There were too many logistic obstacles and most retailers were holding off a bit on new products. Our own bandwidth maxed out, too. We decided early on this season that we would wait until next season to begin launching any new organic mango products.

Pride of the Season, Pride of Mexico
Probably most successful (so far) this season was the continued momentum that we, alongside our customers, are building among consumers with the Organic Ataulfo mango varietal. Sales exceeded expectations all season long, as loyal consumers and new Ataulfo eaters purchased and re-purchased. Our Crespo growing and processing team has learned a lot, including how to extend the season, improve quality post hot water bath, and improve quality through the long and often cold logistics of getting the mangoes to our customers. The Ataulfo season officially ended this week, and we all already miss it. Consumers should be able to reap the rewards for another 10 days, and then they too will have to wait until February when the Mexican Ataulfo commences again.

Here is why we don’t call it HONEY.

No One Got to Come Inside
You will hear me say often, “that video or photo is outdated.” This season I wanted to stop saying that, but I couldn’t head down to the packhouse this year to gather new photos and footage. We could not show you EDJ I in its completeness after the three-year revamp. We had hoped to bring several customers down this season, too, and all that got put on hold. “Next year,” they say, “next year.”

Read more about the revamp Under The Mango Tree.

Where We Are Now
Currently we find ourselves in the very end of the Sinaloa season. Tommy Atkins mangoes are finished for the season. We are in the end of the Kent season, waiting for the Keitts to start. Keitts starting signal the season’s end.

This is the time of year when volumes drop off a bit. Sizing of 9-10 counts dwindle as Kents and Keitts are big size producers with more 6, 7 and 8cnts than 9 and 10cnts. 12cnts from here on out are incredibly rare. Pressure from markets builds as prices begin to rise slightly. With the size increases, it’s enough to change buying patterns and slow things way down organically.

Sinaloa Rains & Rain Delays
This week we experienced the first of what are normal delays in picking and packing. This time of year, the rains begin. When it rains, we can’t pick mangoes, and, when we can’t pick, we can’t pack and ship. This past weekend, the rains coincided with our warehouses selling out of product. This week, we (and the market) are scrambling to get caught up.

We are getting caught up, and the good news is there is a lot of fruit. Though with this delay we are reminded there are more to come, so all of us in the organic mango supply need to keep that in mind. We will adjust our ‘ins and outs’ and we hope you do as well, especially for the next two weeks while fruit size and price are still really good for consumers. Current prices coincide with peak summer heat, which encourages folks to buy and eat more mangoes.

Sinaloa, Two Production Zones
There are two main production zones in the state of Sinaloa. The treated zone and the non-treated zone (Los Mochis), this is mostly how we (laymen and laywomen) refer to them in the industry. The Sinaloa season typically commences mid-June in the south and finishes up north in mid-September.

The onset of the non-treated fruit region, or Los Mochis, signals the end of the Mexican season. This is where we find ourselves now. The Los Mochis fruit has officially started, and the two sub regions (treated and non-treated) now produce simultaneously for about a month more. Eventually, all mango production (OG & CV) moves to the non-treated zone, Los Mochis.

Ataulfo & Tommy Atkins mangoes (currently finished for the season) are the first to start in the southern Sinaloa (treated) zone. The Kent and Keitt varietals are the late season varietals, with production in both zones. These two varietals finish off the Mexican season, first with Kents followed by Keitts. At the moment we are experiencing the end of the Kents in the treated zone and the beginning of the Kents in Los Mochis (non-treated zone).

Despite the fact that the two sectors are only a few hundred miles apart, there are big climate differences that makes for very different fruit. This difference helps us make more sense of a seemingly arbitrary border, where the fruit fly lives on one side but not the other. Since the Los Mochis sector is non-treated, the hot water bath treatment does not exist and, generally, the quality (shelf life, in particular) is deemed superior in the non-treated zone. But it really all depends on rains and humidity, which can easily make the Los Mochis fruit more volatile.

There are some industry experts that believe that the hot water bath can actually help deter anthracnose, which is a disease caused by a fungus that is exacerbated by rain and high humidity. This is found throughout Sinaloa in August and September – and even more so in Los Mochis.

Those same rains and humidity during these months also push the limits on size in the non-treated sector. The Los Mochis zone gets more rain, thus growing the Keitt mangoes to be, what I consider, GIGANTIC 4 & 5cnts. This is almost impossible to sell in large quantities into organic markets, especially since the cost of fruit is generally higher in the non-treated region, with prices often equivalent or higher than Mexican onset season prices in February.

Get clues from last season’s ending Under The Mango Tree.

The Treated Zone (El Rosario, Sinaloa)
El Rosario (close to Mazatlán) is one of the main growing regions in the treated zone in the state of Sinaloa. Crespo Organic owns a significant number of organic orchards in this area, all of which are packed in El Grupo Crespo’s main pack house, Empaque Don Jorge. This is not only the largest hypothermic mango pack house in Latin America, but it’s where El Grupo Crespo packs a significant amount of fruit for the season.

El Grupo Crespo has many late season orchards in microclimates throughout the zone and, thus, picks, packs, and ships through the end of August, usually when most have already moved to the non-treated zone. Outside of the fact that the orchards are proprietary for El Grupo Crespo versus partnered production in Los Mochis, there are benefits to extending the treated zone. Many Crespo Organic customers can testify.

Lower costs are a significant advantage. The scale and efficiency of Crespo’s packhouse, EDJ, combined with the fact that they own the process from orchard to warehouse in Nogales makes for less hands in the costs and more savings for customers.

The fruit in this region is also smaller in size and organically this is a significant importance that pertain to costs, since most orchard business is done by the KILO not by the size. The Kents and Keitts in the treated zone tend to be much smaller than the non-treated zone and yield more 9 and 10’s longer.

Now in the Treated Zone
Kent mangoes are currently on their last week in El Rosario zone, yielding mostly 7,8 and 9cnts with a few 10’s and even an occasional 12. We’ll begin Keitt mangoes in this zone at the end of next week. The Keitt varietal is generally very big, averaging 5,6 and 7cnts. With the unique climate, el Grupo Crespo expects yields of “smaller sizes” and an all-around vast array of size offerings between 6 and 10cnt. The Keitt mangoes in this zone will end around the last week of August.

Non-Treated Zone (Los Mochis, Sinaloa)
Sooner or later all Mexican mango production moves into this zone and that concludes the Mexican season. Most of the orchards lie in the Ahome municipality, which is about a 5-hour drive north from Crespo’s hometown of El Rosario.

Only recently has organic production expanded in this zone. In the past, most production went solely to the processing sector (juice and dried), both which covet the Keitt varietal. As more consumers eat mangoes year-round, growers have expanded in this area trying to prolong the season. In this case, climate change may contribute to the success of this elongation, but I am not a mango-grower scientist so, for now, let’s just call that an opinion. What I can say is that there has been much less rain and anthracnose in the area for the past several seasons.

El Grupo Crespo plans to move to this area in late August with Keitt mangoes through mid-September, weather and markets permitting. Eventually the question for organics in this zone is always, “What can the market bear?” The fruit grows very big and the prices are much higher. Eventually the fruit is too big and, therefore, too expensive for consumers, and most production moves full-time into the processing sector. This sector pays good money for organic Keitts, with generally rising demand.

Weather plays a big part, as well. As more rains come, quality gets iffy, and the venture to export into the USA and Canada becomes far too risky.

The last few seasons we try and end on a high note, we typically end the season a bit before the others opting to pack only conventionally once the quality begins to deteriorate.  We don’t want to leave the brand and consumers with a bad taste at seasons end.  We want consumers to continue to associate our brand with prized Crespo Organic quality, part of that work is knowing when to end the season.

Rumor amidst most Mexican growers is that the price of fruit in this zone for September will be higher than prior seasons.

What the Blush
It’s important to note that Mexican Keitt mangoes look significantly different than California Keitt mangoes. This is something organic consumers (and buyers) are still learning as Mexican organic farmers continue to build and expend further to the end of Mexican season. In the past, it was only California Keitts that organic consumers saw, so they’re used to the big dark green oval giants, but the Mexican Keitt mango is different. The climate difference between growing regions changes everything from flavor to blush tones. Read more on the differences Under The Mango Tree.

 

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.

Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

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…

News

El Grupo Crespo Proceeds with Caution

March 17, 2020

 Tiempos inciertos en la cadena de suministro del mango mexicano

Link for the article in English

Crespo Organic Mangoes continúa cosechando, empacando y exportando mangos orgánicos de las regiones del sur de México, desde los Estados de Oaxaca y Chiapas, aplicando las medidas de precaución necesarias, de acuerdo con la demanda creciente del mercado actual.

A medida que se desarrolla la pandemia global de COVID-19, estamos tomamos medidas de seguridad prudentesy esenciales; monitoreamos nuestra parte en la cadena de suministro y nos mantenemos atentos a las nuevas alertas hora tras hora, día a día. Nuestro objetivo es garantizar que podamos continuar trabajando sin poner en riesgo la salud y la seguridad de nuestras comunidades, los puntos fronterizos-logísticos , los de distribución y por supuesto el de nuestros consumidores.

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…

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, News, Product

Mango Mania 2019

August 14, 2019

 

Customers blew our minds with awesome displays of  #MuchosMangoes

The Crespo Organic Summer Mango Mania #MuchosMangoes promotion is the collision point between Nayarit and Sinaloa peak mango production, happening in the height of consumer demand,  SUMMERTIME. For two months, usually starting to build volumes and displays in June, building up to  gigantic consumer sales and buzz in July, a mango mania frenzy takes over the nation.  The promotion happens when the orchards are at their most copies and this year we not only had over the top quality and a vast array of sizing options, but we had more participants in our annual display contests that we hold in conjunction with our wholesales and retailers.

Continue Reading…