Farm, Featured, News

Early Rain Damage & Lots of Optimism

December 21, 2022

It’s beginning to look at lot like a prosperous Mexican Mango Season

 It’s that time of the year again when you all forget about fruits and vegetables amidst all the holiday hubbub, and also the time of the year when I begin thinking excessively about mangoes as we begin to prepare for the upcoming Mexican Mango Season!

I’m not going to lie, I get giddy with anticipation of all the mangoes to come, usually cooking up something mango-centric to ring in the holiday season. This year it was my Mango Pork Mole & Christmas Tamales and a very special Mexican Mezcal Pechuga Mango Milk Punch. My excitement for mangoes had already been  jostled more than normal for this time of year since fresh back from a recent trip to Egypt where I had been pleasantly surprised by all the mangoes.

This is the season I am always anxiously awaiting news from los hermanos Crespos, whose boots are always on the ground in Chiapas and Oaxaca at this time of year. The Crespo brothers are usually very cautious when providing me information and it takes a lot of time to really access the rugged geography of the orchards in Chiapas and Oaxaca, especially this year since there has been some excessive rain that appears to have caused damage to blooms and early bloom sets; which is not totally out of the ordinary but deserves the time spent to investigate.

I have now gathered up my info from the Crespo siblings which has been corroborated by some others, and we can officially announce current crop conditions and predictions for the 2023 Chiapas and Oaxaca season!

Expected Start Dates:  January 20th Ataulfo Mangoes / February 15th Tommy Atkins

Current Weather, Blooming & Setting
Up until a few weeks ago, the weather up had been “normal and good”. Decent off-season rains and colder temperatures appeared right before the first blooms, which is what we want to see. A significant number of first blooms became fruit (fruit set) which has been developing nicely. A significant amount of initial bloom set signals strong potential for a voluminous season, at least for the south.

Then along came some heavy rains for several days throughout the Oaxaca and Chiapas regions during first and secondary blooms of both Ataulfos and some Tommy and, after a good amount of fruit had already set. As a result, a lot of blooms were blown or “burnt” off and some of the fruit that had set had some minor damage. Since production zones in the south are very large but patchy (meaning lots of smaller orchards here and there in micro pockets), damage was also speckled and not necessarily significant, especially for those of us with ample production in both zones.

Much of the small rain damage on set fruit is expected to “clean up” as the fruit grows; in other words, it’s expected to repair itself as it grows. It’s assumed there will be some selective packing needed for the early fruit for any of the damage that doesn’t grow through, but those of us with large and proprietary packhouses should have no issues with this and it’s fairly normal in the onset of the Mexican season.

The same goes for any gaps that might occur with the washed blooms in the very early onset of the season. While it’s true there will be less early fruit overall because of the rain, there were more blooms and bloom set than normal, so those of us with generous production should start the season in good shape, assuming the next 30 days of weather cooperates. It’s fairly typical for weather to impede more generous volumes at the very beginning of the Mexican season.

We will continue to keep a close eye on the secondary blooms, bloom sets, and beyond to gauge  our early spring volumes, in particular for March when Peru winds down. This season Peru is peaking early and expected to putter out by February. This should mean excellent demand for Mexican products and more opportunities for those (us) who have significant fruit, especially early fruit.

Once the New Year rolls around we will put out another crop update, right before the season starts, highlighting any changes, but for now, this is the current juicy scoop.

 General Southern Crop & Crespo Organic Predictions
The Crespo brothers believe that, despite the early rains, there will be a lot more fruit from the south this season. The sizing should be on the larger side because of the early rain. It is generally too early to gauge quality, but most folks are optimistic.

We expect our southern packhouses to begin packing Ataulfos on or around January 20th, which puts fruit in Nogales/Mcallen on or around the first of February. Although some conventional packinghouses in the south often open earlier, we won’t open until there is enough fruit volume that registers the correct brix (sugar content).  Waiting to ensure proper quality is key, especially considering how important the Ataulfo program is to our customers and what we’ve all accomplished in growing it.  Expectations lean to large sizing, due to all the rain during the final development, which is attractive news for our existing big program customers with whom we’ve managed to build strong programs with very large fruit.

Round mangoes will begin around the first or second week of February, which puts them about a month earlier than most will have, an advantageous place to be since Peru is expected to have less fruit in February and March. We have worked hard on plantings and micro regions where the fruit is ready sooner, and the few weeks jump we get on the season is helpful because it puts us at excellent (promotable) volume right from March onward, when retailers need it.

By the end of January, all of our packhouses in the south will be open and pack more volume than in past seasons.

Empaque Don Jorge 2, More Orchard Expansions, Bola de Oro & Magmar
EDJ II is set to open earlier than last season. They will commence with Ataulfos as well as the round mangoes. We have a new (additional) southern packhouse this season (Bolo de Oro), and each of these Crespo packhouses have the capacity to pack around 4 truckloads per day – coupled with our long time Oaxacan packing partners, Magmar, we expect volume flow from the Mexican packhouses to US warehouses to be fluid and abundant with volume opportunities right out of the gate.

We continue to expand production in the south with the usual mangoes and will be able to offer Thai & Mallika mangoes from  the Chiapas region.

Bells & Whistles Offerings
In addition to the specialty mangoes, we have a number of packaged mango options from the onset of the season: Net Bags, A Case for Consumers and the Crespo BIG BOX – all available with any varietal. (Keep an eye out for new specialty mango packaging for summer, too!)

Of course, we also have the new YEAR-ROUND Crespo Organic Dried Mango line available in BULK, 4OZ & 1LB Retail Zip Bags.

Contact sales {} for fresh or dried organic mangoes or for mango information!


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