Mangoes continue to surprise and delight me. They are a lot like people. Whenever I think I know something about them, they prove me wrong. Things that grow are complex by nature, and taking a cookie cutter approach to defining them always fails.
As I proceed on my mango-centric food education mission, I have a responsibility to admit when I am wrong and when I too am guilty of being “scripted” along the way.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been called Lisa, Melissa, Alissa, and, even, Carissa when various adults have had to read my name, Nissa, aloud. The very existence of the name Nissa (pronounced Niss like kiss with the soft “a” pronounced like uh = Niss–uh) baffles most Americans. Most people pronounce it like Lisa, fearing the mallet of mispronunciation, but I never mind when people mess up my name. In fact, half the world calls me Nee-sa because it’s easier for many of the world’s tongues. Many cultures struggle with the pronunciation of the sharp “i”. What I do mind is when, in order to avoid saying it wrong, they refuse to try. I imagine it’s all fear-based—fear of sounding stupid, fear of making a mistake. Whatever the case may be, it’s time for all of us to get to know each other’s names along with the accents and cultures they come from. To sound silly is a worthwhile sacrifice to make when learning new words—to try is to connect in all of our humanness. As Americans, we need rise to the challenge and embrace diversity in all its forms. To embrace, and celebrate, diversity is to be on the right side of history. We can start as simply as confronting our fear of mispronunciation, getting to know names we deem too ethnic and too unusual.
The complexities of facts and slow to move information in mangoes
Over the years I have had my own ideas about mango quality. I thought I understood the major problems affecting the “king of fruits”, specifically the varietals with which I worked and the countries they were from. Since I traveled to the depths of the orchards in multiple continents to examine the fruit and its “afflictions du jour”, I thought I had the facts straight on mango quality, but I have come to discover that I haven’t got the facts straight at all. I have barely scratched the surface of information when it comes to mangoes. Like most everyone in the industry, I have been fed a lot of skewed news and misinformation about the quality of mangoes; I am now only just beginning to grasp the real truth: mango systems are incredibly complex and real information doesn’t always flow properly. So, as we enter the age of transparency, I start by doing my part – asking more questions.
Heavy, Unexpected Winds Challenge Crop Outlook From Oaxaca Region
Two days ago heavy winds swept through Oaxaca in the southern regions of Mexico centered heavily in mango production zones. Many of the early mangoes expected to be harvested for January and February have literally been ripped off the trees for several producers in the area or severely damaged by the hefty winds. We don’t yet know the full details, but in the very least we know the situation is very troublesome to overall regional production outlooks previously forecasted. We are currently accessing Crespo Organic production in the area to determine which of our orchards have been effected and if so, to what extent and what it may mean for our early production yields.
Behind every great season, lies a great deal of unseen work, especially in the off-season where mainly the “unpredictables” determine the outcome of the crop. In today’s world where climate change exists (it’s not a hoax) and capricious weather becomes the norm, an empirical approach to understanding agriculture is often all a producer has to make the best decisions in the off season, which essentially defines the production season. Fruit of the modern world is fickle
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Imperfect Truth about Mangoes and Rain
Mangoes are an imperfect fruit.
Unlike the rest of the world, which is very used to seeing mangoes in all quality forms (the modern trend calls it “imperfect fruit”), Americans’ fruit cosmetic standards are very high and unrealistic. Not only does this insatiable appetite for perfection cause a significant amount of food waste at both the farm and retail levels, but it is absolutely unattainable and unprofitable for producers and seriously unsustainable for all. Instead of playing a key role in addressing and combatting the issue, the produce industry as a whole tends to perpetuate and exacerbate this problem. Personally, I believe that onthe more aware consumers are the better off the entire supply chain and food system is, from “seed to mouth” or in our case, “pit to mouth.” Giving consumers and industry folks real information is pivotal in product education.
As consumers we don’t always get a feel for the realities beyond the display: the difficulties, challenges, and shocking amount of really hard work that goes into everything from pre-production to shipping across borders. There’s a lot of stuff no one ever talks about but is part of the process, things which I call “Secrets & Lies.” I’m not a fan of hiding the realities of food production and distribution, nor do I think the public should be out of the loop on the very strict and demanding practices that come with importing food. I’m also an ardent believer that the quickest way to the “utopia” we all dream about is through good old fashioned honesty and information-sharing.
Under The Mango Tree is a sweet spot, where I, a long time mango industry crackerjack, share everything I know. A place to find mango centric, agricultural, food and culture knowledge and a few juicy industry secrets and lies.