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 1861, 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.
Ocozocoautla de Espinosa (Coita), Chiapas, Mexico
Last February, El Grupo Crespo opened Empaque Don Jorge II (EDJ II) in Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Chiapas, or – as the locals call it – Coita.
This is not to be confused with Empaque Don Jorge (EDJI) – El Grupo Crespo’s original and main packhouse located in El Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico. EDJ I’s total remodel finished last year, making it Latin America’s largest hydrothermal mango packhouse.
Mi padre es tu padre
Para una versión en inglés haga clic aquí
Una de las cosas que nos conecta a todos en esta vida es la muerte, la comida es otra. Desde que mi padre falleció hace unos años, me di cuenta que me conecto con ciertas personas de manera más auténtica, especialmente aquellas cuyos padres, a quienes también estaban cerca, hayan muerto. Para muchos de nosotros el sentimiento de “vacío” que ahora llevamos dentro de nosotros nos conecta…de alguna manera nos magnetiza. La pérdida en general nos conecta, lo que tiende a recordarme que la vida debería.
Mi padre es tu padre, celebrate life
Click HERE for a version of the post in Spanish
One of the things that connects us all in this life is food and certainly thats a big one for me, death is another obvious connector. I noticed since my father passed a few years back that I connect with certain people more authentically, especially with those whose fathers, to whom they too were close, have passed. For many of us the feeling of “lack” that we now carry inside us, connects us…magnetizes us. Loss in general connects us, which tends to somehow trigger and remind me that to celebrate life.
I think the ancient and traditional Day of the Dead (“Día de Muertos”) ceremonies, beliefs and celebrations practiced throughout Mexico – and many parts of the world where Mexican populations live and work – are a wonderful example of just that. Day of the Dead customs or traditions seem totally undervalued in Western culture, and as I have been contemplating my own aging and my own sense of belonging (especially after my father passed shortly before a serious breakup), I feel a yearning for more ritual, more tradition and more community in my own life. When I look at so many of the traditions of the world that date back thousands of years, I see so many of them still thriving today in connecting people. I see the Mexican population today, not so as much “religious” but as extremely spiritual people, moving, and evolving through this life as best they can with their family, loved ones, and communities front and center to it all…and I think that’s beautiful. Continue Reading…
Mango Holding Area, Empaque Don Jorge, El Rosario, Sinaloa Mexico
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 this one is my personal favorite- which is why I’ work with them. Boasting this facility and the Crespo’s is the natural outcome of my true beliefs.
We don’t talk enough about packing houses in our business yet this is the one place that usually solves and/or causes most problems in terms of product quality and food safety. 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.