A pause for appreciation for those that feed us, organically
I learned about gratitude as a little girl. It was not taught to me in school or by my parents or by my country. It was taught to me by Nicaraguans. Poor Nicaraguans to be specific, who had nothing much of physical, monetary, or economic value in their possessions. At the time, mid to later 1980’s these average Nicaraguans were struggling to find food and basic necessities amidst embargoes, wars, political power struggles, corruption, CIA involvement, cocaine trafficking and more. My family, my father and four brothers just happened to be living alongside them, in similar circumstances, the struggling to find necessities part. I paid attention then, as I do now and noticed early on that despite having, what I considered, from my viewpoint as a young girl coming from a poor family in Los Angeles, nothing- they were happy. They were generous and above all they had gratitude. It took me a while to understand this formula, but eventually it’s one that is now etched in my bones and part of my blood. A way of being that I couldn’t stop being attracted to. The attraction, to living around those with immense gratitude is what lead me to farmers, small organic farmers to be exact.
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
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.
History & hysteria behind Cinco de Mayo
Let’s start with the most important part of the history behind Cinco de Mayo. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexican Independence Day. It’s a day that has becomea symbolic holiday for Americans celebrating what they imagine to be the spirit of Mexico and Mexicans. It’s also a day that has exacerbated stereotypes of Mexicans and Mexican culture for too long. It’s because of the later reason that we choose to #CelebrateMexico within our space in the mango industry to help educate where we can, hopefully clearing up some misconceptions along the way.
Cinco de Mayo is barely a holiday in Mexico. It’s mostly celebrated in Puebla, as that’s where the Mexican Army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In 1961, Napoleon III tried to carve an empire out of Mexican territory, and a well-armed French fleet entered into Veracruz and drove the Mexican government north into retreat.
Written by Nissa Pierson on behalf of RCF Distributors and El Grupo Crespo
Como muchos de ustedes saben, de repente sufrimos la pérdida de nuestro querido amigo, colega y principal agente de ventas, Alan Alvarez, el sábado 30 de enero de este año. El Grupo Crespo: RCF, Crespo Organic Mangos, Empaque Don Jorge y cientos de amigos de la industria del mango lamentamos junto a su esposa y sus tres hijos el fallecimiento de nuestro amado “Mango King”
Este Rey del Mango se construyó a la antigua, a través de trabajo duro y relaciones sólidas. Desde los inicios de su carrera, los clientes de Alan se dieron cuenta de su maravilloso talento para mover grandes volúmenes de la fruta. Clientes que comenzaron comprando sólo unos pocos palets terminaron comprando cargas en camiones, después de ser clientes de Alan. Eventualmente lo nombraron el Rey del Mango debido a su habilidad para sobresalir en el negocio. Fue un constructor de negocios porque construía relaciones profundas y afectuosas con las personas.
Written by Nissa Pierson on behalf of RCF Distributors and El Grupo Crespo
As many of you know, we suddenly lost our dear friend, colleague and paramount sales agent, Alan Alvarez, on Saturday, January 30th, 2021. El Grupo Crespo: RCF Distributors, Crespo Organic Mangoes, Empaque Don Jorge and hundreds of mango industry friends now mourn the loss of our beloved Mango King alongside Alan’s wife and three children.
This Mango King was built the old-fashioned way, through really hard work and strong relationships. Early on in his career, Alan’s mango customers took notice of his marvelous talent for moving large volumes of fruit. Customers that had started out buying just a few pallets were eventually buying truckloads after being Alan’s customer. They eventually deemed him the Mango King due to his knack for excelling in the mango business. He was a builder of business because he was a builder of deep caring relationships with people.
Our Direct Trade mango program gets you out of the cold!
This mango season has been an odd one so far, no doubt about it. Not only did it start much earlier than average but volume output jumped up considerably faster than usual. Peru and Mexico are overlapping longer this season and in high volumes. It also looks like we are in for a longer and colder winter, which complicates presenting consumers with the amazing quality hailing from the Mexican orchards these days. All of these things make for a complex start of the season, which means we all need to be good partners for optimal success. That’s where we shine!
The Crespo Organic Direct Trade Program is exactly the kind of program needed for this partnership success; regardless if you are a retailer, wholesaler, distributor, home delivery agent or processor. We are practicing what we preach currently and working diligently with our customers to achieve fair and stable pricing for all, while delivering the high quality mangoes Mexico is producing and consumers crave.
“Defendemos la igualdad, la justicia y el respeto por todos los seres”
Es difícil para mí publicar con alegría, enseñar sobre mangos y continuar educando (o “propagandizar” podría ser una mejor palabra) cuando el mundo parece estar en un momento tan distinto, al borde de un cambio importante en el pensamiento colectivo.
Si bien creo que Crespo hace esto (propagandizar) con un nivel de autenticidad que es raro en este negocio, compartiendo nuestro punto de vista sobre el mundo de los mangos, los productos orgánicos, los agricultores mexicanos y las comunidades agrícolas…no somos más que una voz en un mar de muchos como nosotros. Sí, nos consideramos expertos en estos temas y, desde la perspectiva de los agricultores y la comunidad agrícola y a través de la lente de la cultura mexicana, estamos subrepresentados en nuestra industria en general.
“We stand for equality, justice and respect for all beings”
It’s difficult for me to joyously post, teach about mangoes and continue to educate (or propagandize might be a better word) when the world seems to be at such a distinct moment in time, on the brink of a major shift in collective thinking.
While I think Crespo does this (propagandize) with a level of authenticity that’s rare in this business, sharing our point-of-view on the world of mangoes, organics, Mexican farmers, and farming communities… we are but one voice in a sea of many like us. Yes, we consider ourselves experts on these subjects and, from the perspective of the farmer and farming community and through the lens of Mexican culture, we are an under-represented in our industry as a whole.