A mango tree’s flowers signal potential for #MuchosMangoes
Flowers have been top of mind this week, and it wasn’t because my social media feed was bombarded by flowers for Valentine’s Day. Rather, throngs of vibrant photos and videos of mango blossoms from the #HermanosCrespos lit up my WhatsApp, exhibiting the last of the late blooms in the south, the new blooms bursting open in the north and the vibrant openings everywhere in-between.
Beautiful mango flowers currently blanket most of Mexico. As we begin to learn more about the early season quality, yields, sizing, and the varietal nuances of the season from the southern regions’ mature fruit (where we’ve been packing for a month now), we are all filled with promise. That is what I love about mango blossoms: they gorgeously signal great possibilities in their abundance. Even though less than 1% of all blooms actually form fruit.
A deep dive into the when’s, why’s and how’s of the firm fleshed, farmer friendly mango
My favorite mango is a Tommy Atkins, but it’s not because it’s farmer and supply chain friendly. It’s my favorite because it’s culinarily versatile and it also happens to be farmer and supply chain friendly which isn’t a bad thing.
If you google Tommy Atkins, one of the first links is Wikipedia which describes in the first sentence the Tommy as not generally considered the best in terms of sweetness andflavor. If you ask me, this sets up Tommy for a negative bias before you’ve even seen one in real life. Yes, the statement that follows is true, basically saying: it’s grown because it fares well in the production and import supply chain. But, for real, this is a gigantic part of the equation, in all parts of the world, for all commodities. Not unique to Tommy.
Before you hear the retort from an adoring Tommy Atkins fan, based on my professional mango expertise and observations, not to mention my culinary exploits, I want to report that we have harvested the first organic Tommy Atkins from El Grupo Crespo’s southern orchards and, as this glides into your inbox, our southern packhouses are cleaning, polishing, and packing them into several of our most coveted packaging SKU’s: the Crespo Big Box, Net Bags and the old faithful Crespo 4KG case (all of which have been designed to look dashing as both big and small mango displays while also proving strong as stand-alone displays and storage).
Proper Ataulfo handling practices increase sales and consumer satisfaction
El Grupo Crespo grows exceptional Ataulfo mangoes. They grow the Ataulfos in ideal microclimates that yield their signature flavor – sweet, sugar-caramel with a tinge of spice. If you ask me, it can only be created in Mexico.
The Ataulfo mango, a Mexican cultivar, is puro Mexico, as the saying goes. Just like Indian mangoes and Thai mangoes taste and look a little different when grown in Mexico, the Ataulfo mango is the same grown elsewhere. The Mexican season is THE season for this special mango. Many consumers know this and more are learning. We want to fuel that momentum, educating on best handling practices, and gaining more lovers of Mexico’s Ataulfo.
Plus, an additional NEW packhouse, Bola de Oro opens in Oaxaca
Back in 2019, just prior to the mango season, El Grupo Crespo opened Empaque Don Jorge II (EDJII) in Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Chiapas, or – as the locals call it – Coita. It was the Crespo family’s second proprietary mango packhouse, plus several hundred supporting hectares of organic mango orchards. The expanded mango volumes and increased packing outputs allowed the family business to expand and grow. This season El Grupo starts their 2023 mango programs with even more volume, more capacity and more varietals. It’s exciting for me to witness their growth and see the family rewarded with recognition from the industry, retailers, wholesalers and processors.
Shortcutting the promotion of Mexico’s yellow slipper
This is an industry geared post.
I am currently in Miami taking a snowbird working month for myself, escaping the midwest cold. It’s sunny and warm here but I know for most of you the rain is currently falling and a good many of you have snow dropping or piled up. Rest assured spring is definitely coming. And mangoes that means an uptick in sales.
The way we crave comfort food in the winter is exactly the way we crave healthy and vibrant foods in the spring. Mangoes are both healthy and vibrant and Ataulfos are the most vibrant and healthy mangoes we have access to in our organic marketplace. The buttery smooth Ataulfo flesh makes them extremely versatile for cooking and they are easy to please consumers price wise with sizing at 12/14/16/18 vs 7/8/9/10. The Crespo Organic Ataulfo program is robust. Not only do we take sizing and quality seriously but we have invested in the consistency of volume necessary to build sales and ongoing national programs. The Crespo Organic seasons starts in late January and moves through the end of August, so its also long one- worthy of some attention, especially as Ataulfos take off as the fastest growing organic varietal among consumers.
As we near the start of the 2023 Mexican mango season with Ataulfo mangoes set to emerge onto the scene the last week of the month, it’s a good time to either examine your existing organic Ataulfo program or think about implementing one. We have time, quality product and the support you need, the Crespo Ataulfo program is a good one; carpe diem.
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 Egyptwhere I had been pleasantly surprised by all the mangoes.
I had my first Pechuga, about 30 years ago when I was studying politics in Cuernavaca, Mexico while in college. On one of our outings we visited the then governor of the state of Morelos (where Cuernavaca is located) at his home, to discuss local politics. The governor also happened to produce mezcal. It wasn’t long into the outing when we veered off political course and began indulging in the governors mezcalero side, drinking and discussing mezcal instead. Eventually he pulled out a bottle of his pechuga, or as he humorously described it “mezcal’s breast milk.” After the poorly translated jokes, he went on to describe pechuga to us for real, explaining that it’s a very special and celebratory spirit made by mezcal makers and made with raw chicken or turkey breast as well as a medley of other botanicals, herbs and spices.
Wait, what? The room of 19-20 year old Americans were a bit in shock, even my then weird loving idea self, was aghast with the idea of raw chicken breast used in mezcal.
Egypt has long been on my list of places to visit and recently I was lucky enough to spend fifteen days traveling around the country. Not just to see and feel the ancient history but to experience the rich culture and food that I have grown to love with so many of my travels to the middle east for agricultural work.
On this trip I was lucky enough to see almost all parts of Egypt, from Cairo all the way to the southern border near Sudan. I of course got to see the great pyramids in Giza and ride a camel, and visit the tombs and temples of Pharaohs, queens and goddess’. I also got to sail down the Nile for four days – I guess technically I sailed up since the Nile, the longest river in the world, flows from south to North. I met with women in small villages and got to eat some wonderful food in a Nubian village near Sudan and cook with the chef on the ancient Egyptian sailboat. lI earned a lot about Egypt; the greatest take away is how much and how long the country (its people) have been suffering and how little we westerners hear about that and how important mangoes are there.
Tropical, chewy mango snacks are rolling out in produce, grocery & beyond
I’m not someone who enjoys delays of any kind. The aggressive workhorse, mover, pusher and shaker in me works hard to vanquish them. But, like so many, I was taught a good lesson during the first few years of COVID–delays are here to stay in all their often excruciatingly painful glory. Mary Oliver learned this lesson and cutely bottled it in one of her famous quotes: “things take the time they take.” This helps remind me that a delay is something temporary and, when gone, rather meaningless. Which is how I feel today as the first trucks of dried mangoes land in Nogales, AZ, and make their way out and into the fresh produce and grocery sector and eventually beyond: into new food sectors that are still a bit foreign to us like organic dried food processors, online food retailers and convenience outlets like gas stations, airport kiosks, and vending machines.
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.
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.