Boasting the most efficient and modern mango pack house around
Disclaimer: This is a boastful and prideful post about a packing house that I truly believe in. I’m one of a few globally well-traveled industry folks with an extremely diverse make up of commodities, markets, cultures and systems. I have seen a lot of packing houses and “sheds” in my travels and none like this one. Boasting this facility and the Crespo’s is the natural outcome of my true beliefs.
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We don’t talk enough about the quality of packing houses in our business and yet this is the one place that can make or break a program, the place that usually solves and/or causes most problems in terms of product quality, food safety and compliances. Most fruits and vegetables are harvested and then brought to a packing house or shed where they are then packed into various bulk or retail packaging. These large and small sorting/packing hubs serve as the distribution outlet for the farm and/or the farmers. These facilities can be modern, elaborate, high tech, clean and simple, dirty and even bare bones covered (shaded) tables where things like fresh herbs are packed right out of the field.
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.
McAllen enjoys the last fruits of our labor while Nogales embraces a bit more propaganda
Here is the brief take-away from this article: Hot water baths are not bad, and untreated fruit is not better. The end of the season is complex for all- let facts be your guide.
For a handful of us who grow extensively in the El Rosario area during the Sinaloa season, mango supplies can often be extended all the way into the first week of September. While other broker-sellers move to the untreated Mochis zone (which jump up significantly in price and size), we can stay longer in lower prices and smaller fruit. Naturally, this benefits our volume-driven sellers a great deal, knowing most customers have a price point they must adhere to in order to capture sales. In some regions, consumers will only pay so much for a mango; this is particularly true in the Midwest and on the east coast. So, just a touch below the arbitrary untreated zone line, the Rosario region offers a micro growing region where we can do just that – provide smaller, cheaper mangoes throughout the entire month of August.
A Crespo Organic Kitchen Cooking Class
Class Description: This is a very special class to cap off Mango Mania, where we’ll make our favorite Mexican street drink – the Mangonada – and all its components from scratch, including Homemade Chamoy and Tamarindo Candy Straws. Bright orange mango sorbet with chamoy rippled throughout and topped with fresh mangoes. The mangonada is a summertime staple in Mexican communities and the Crespo Organic Kitchen is going to take a stab at making it from scratch, right along side you!
We will make the chamoy from scratch—a savory, lightened pickeld condiment made from dried stone fruit. We will even make our own house Tajín seasoning (a lime-flavored chili powder). And the signature candy tamarind straw too, we wont forget to make that too!
Most of the stuff you’d buy from the store today is so laden with salt, sugars, processed-everything that we want to recreate this incredible treat the old way (which is also the healthier, fresh way).
Recipes to be Made: Mango & Lime Sorbet; Homemade Chamoy; Crespo (Faux) Tajín; Tamarind Candy Straws
Date: Saturday July 31st
Time: 4 PM CST
Location: VIRTUAL! Watch on Instagram live or follow along on Zoom!
Participate Via Zoom
Meeting ID: 881 0554 2868
Notes: There is some prep work needed for this class so check out the Pre-Class Needs Photo on this post for all the details plus the full ingredient list you will need!
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
A promotion that celebrates Mexico with mangoes
Cinco de Mayo is barely a holiday in Mexico, but we are acutely aware that it’s become a big event across the USA. An event that generates a significant amount of sales for Mexican produce items. Mangoes, like avocadoes are one of the items most coveted for the few days that encircle this Americanized holiday. The date feels like an opportunity for us.
Our #CelebrateMexico #CelebrateMangoes campaign not only excites, engages and entices consumers on all things organic mango, but it educates on the beauty and culture of Mexico and encourages a celebration of all things Mexican, including its rich agricultural offerings.
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.
“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.
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.