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Gratitude for Blooms

November 22, 2023

A Thanksgiving Mexican mango crop update & overview

The upcoming two months hold significant importance in relation to weather conditions and their impact on the early Mexican mango crop in Oaxaca and Chiapas. These months will greatly influence our final crop expectations and overall outlook. It is currently too early to make definitive predictions. However, during the two months preceding fruit bloom, set and formation (as discussed in a previous post “MANGO BLOOMS WOW” also available visually on YouTube), our focus intensifies. This period is vital for closely monitoring weather patterns, orchard health, and other developments, marking the initial steps in formulating a clearer understanding of the upcoming season.

In terms of what is happening now on the ground in Oaxaca, the first region for harvest, there have been notable instances of heavy rains. While not entirely abnormal, these downpours, if sufficiently intense, can strip off blossoms and damage newly forming fruit. This phenomenon has been observed, particularly in the local mango crops grown in the state of Guerrero where most the earliest fruit was destroyed by Hurricane Otis.

In Oaxaca heavy rain has also led to issues such as bloom loss and damage to early-forming fruit. These effects are anticipated to impact the earliest fruit yields, resulting in smaller quantities. Compounding the problem, the rains have induced a pause in bloom, affecting the ongoing flowering in some orchards. This is expected to create gaps in fruit production, varying by orchard, particularly for the earliest fruit expected in late January and early February. Having a significant volume or orchards, like EL Grupo Crespo has, will be pivotal to exporter success in the early season.

The outlook for February and March fruit will be contingent on the extent of bloom and fruit formation in the coming weeks. By early December, more information will be available to provide a clearer picture of the initial months of the Mexican mango season. It’s crucial to note that weather patterns, especially in early January, can play a crucial role and change everything quickly.  Until we actually butt up closer to harvest we just never know. Climate change is so powerful these days and makes crop predictions very difficult.

I  do find it particularly valuable at this two-month threshold to not just offer a current crop status update, focusing on the present early-stage developments, general weather conditions, and initial conjectures based on the available information coming direct from the orchards, but to provide a general comprehensive reminder and review of the early Mexican regions general characteristics.

Important insights like when the season typically begins, the initial varieties, their geographical locations, and the overall progression pattern. Such detailed information helps all of us better plan and manage expectations as we navigate the upcoming season.

The Oaxacan season typically begins in late January, with Chiapas following suit in early February; both regions usually extend their seasons until late April. It’s essential to note that both organic and conventional fruit kick off simultaneously, challenging past perceptions that conventional starts first. Organic and conventional orchards produce on the same timeframe, conventional volumes often surpass organic ones. Packhouses dealing with substantial conventional volumes tend to open earlier due to the larger quantities. El Grupo Crespo ships organic fruit right from the season’s onset. Our packhouses handle large volumes of both conventional and organic mangoes allowing us to ship both on the same trucks and initiating both organic and conventional seasons at Mexico’s season onset.

The Ataulfo mangoes start first, generally in late January.   Round mangoes typically begin about three weeks to a month later. When the Mexican mango season starts, its only Ataulfos. A critical piece of information in the Ataulfo early scene is that some exporters begin harvest too early, often starting  a week or two earlier than us. This is a bad practice, resulting in Ataulfos in retail that are immature and too green, lacking the full potential to ripen properly or hit optimal sweetness. In contrast we avoid such practices. Ataulfos, unlike round mangoes, are bitter when green, and consumers, especially first-time Ataulfo eaters trying green Ataulfos, may be deterred from making future purchases. Given our substantial Ataulfo program, we see how important the begging is and are committed to delivering fully ripe and sweet Ataulfos without compromising on quality. It is an incredibly long season, so starting off well makes a lot of difference.

Round mangoes typically commence their season in early March, with production gaining momentum towards the end of the month. However, there are micro-regions, particularly in Chiapas, where early fruit is present. In these regions, we have several orchards dedicated to early crops, and we anticipate having a limited supply of fruit as early as February.

It’s important to note that start dates can vary by a week or two depending on weather conditions. When referencing start dates, clarity is crucial, similar to time zones. If the start date pertains to the orchard or packhouse level, an additional week should be factored in. This accounts for the time it takes to ship and cross the US border, considering the approximately 2700-mile journey. Replenishing supplies in the early part of the season is a delicate process, requiring not only significant volumes of fruit but also a robust Mexican logistics approach.

The initiation of the Mexican season is often challenging due to the initial scarcity of fruit. It takes time for large portions of orchards to commence production and fill the Mexican pipeline. This season’s start in Mexico will begin with a pipeline that is notably empty, exacerbated by Peruvian organic imports being 60-70% less than the usual volume.

Remember everything can change between now and the start!

Featured, Kitchen

Mango Milk Candy

October 16, 2023



Mango dulce de Leche, made with mangoes, made into flan

 Several years ago, under pressure to create new Halloween recipes, I had the brilliant idea (a hypothesis at the time) to make caramel using nothing but mangoes. Since mangoes contain significant natural sugar, why wouldn’t they, in pureed form, caramelize like sugar and water do when heated at a high temperature? Well, they do, and I was right. That fall, “Mango Caramel 3 Ways” was born.

During those fall explorations I created 3 unique caramel recipes, all utilizing mango puree as the base or main ingredient – Salted Mango Caramel, with butter, cream and salt, Faux Mango Caramel– which is technically a vegan sugar-free caramel and one of the healthiest options for caramel lovers, and a Tropical Vegan Mango Dulce de Leche, my twist on the oven made hack that uses a can of sweetened condensed milk and a hot oven to make dulce de leche.

This fall I have new mango caramel recipe for authentic dulce de leche, the one I left out on my original mango caramel experiments.  I left it out partly because it proved to be the most challenging in terms of achieving a result that captures the essence and texture of true dulce de leche. After tinkering with various ideas over the years I finally, with a little encouragement from Mango Hunter Jeff Ray, figured out how to bring it to life.

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Culture, Featured, News, People

Cultivating #MangoJoy for Profit

September 19, 2023

The ROI of Crespo’s Summer Mango Mania promotion

 I know I live in a world that doesn’t register ROI in happiness, let alone recognize the monetary value of #MangoJoy.  I am, however, acutely aware that #MangoJoy has value and that when we work together to cultivate it, building comprehensive mango programs that encircle it,  everyone (including farmers and farming communities) reap more substantial and sustainable profits, a rather difficult thing to achieve within any organic produce commodity; regardless of if you are a retailer, wholesaler or a grower/packer/shipper like El Grupo Crespo. Our summer mango promotion was designed to do just that.  And yes, I’ve got empirical data, retailer, wholesaler and processor testimonials along with loads of intuitive data to prove that our Summer Mango Mania promotion works, delivering profits to retailers, excitement to shoppers and sustainability for our growing program.

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Farm, Featured, News

In case You Missed It

September 15, 2023

Terrible Ecuadoran & Peruvian mango volume predictions

The Mexican organic mango season is officially closed at orchard level, and while that’s certainly noteworthy, there’s another pressing issue that demands our attention: the forecasts for Ecuadorian and Peruvian mango production volumes, both organic and conventional, are extremely grim. In fact, they are expected to be significantly worse than just bad—reaching catastrophic levels in the case of organic mangoes.

I’m going to try to succinctly piece together the facts, while reminding you of the finicky nature of mango blooms. It’s important to note that not even chemical bloom agents (which aren’t employed in organic production) are powerless against nature’s whims, such as El Niño or climate change.

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Farm, Featured, News

Happy Endings, Potent Partnerships

August 25, 2023

Big & sweet Keitts signal the end, our Mochis family makes it “easy” for us!

Los Mochis Keitt mangoes, the late season final varietal of Mexico’s mango season is now officially in full swing, marking these next few weeks the bittersweet conclusion of our sweet, sweet mango season. There is no need to dwell on the end just yet, we still have ample time to enjoy the sweet offerings of this GIGANTIC mango and thanks to our potent partnership with Empaque Macapul & Empaque Don Juan, we’re able to navigate this final stretch with the same power and prowess that defines the Crespo Organic brand all season long.

Mexico’s organic mango season typically finishes around the end of September, while the conventional sector (subject to weather conditions) can extend sometimes even into early October. As I often point out, organic and conventional mango details are often (and wrongly) lumped together under the broad “mango category” label, this simplification doesn’t hold true generally and as we approach the season’s “grand” finale we need to get specific when it comes to organic. This last region has been and still is ultra-complex for the organic sector maneuvering through the last week’s requires a lot of cooperation, communication and a “getting shit done” attitude as many of our customers/retailers have had during this regional period when they have to get the 6/7cnt SKUS approved and in the system in order to have the lengthiest season possible. On the organic side we all want to end on a sweet note, especially because there is no other (large scale) fruit (CA is small scale) directly following Mexico for organic (there is no Brazilian production into the USA) .

Keitt varietals from Mochis consistently yield significantly larger fruit sizes than other varietals and regions. Simultaneously, the price gap widens due to the increased size and the limited organic production that characterizes Mochis. At this stage, the mathematics of fruit pricing become critical, with fruit sizes averaging in the 4/5/6 count range. Over the past several seasons, we’ve diligently worked and succeeded to maintain robust organic displays at the retail level with Keitts  and even with the challenge of larger fruit sizes and subsequently higher price points. However, this isn’t always straightforward and feasible everywhere. We, along with our customers/retailers are actively working changing this challenging price perception. As more retailers, consumers, and the industry at large recognize the added value of organics, our strides become even greater.

It’s a slow but steady process, requiring yearly increases in production, leveraging of sizes, heightened demand and excitement, and a commitment to not partake in the end-of-season price gouging that many adopt. For the organic sector, this is the most challenging region. In my many years of doing this, I consider this year a significant threshold. I see more retailers extending the season than ever before, more adopting larger SKUs, and an overall improvement in the quality of production from the orchard side of the equation. I feel more positive about the organic Mochis program than I ever have.

This Mochis Keitt Crop
The Los Mochis zone typically receives more rain than the other regions and “mango” rains typically come in the later part of the mango season, this is when the Keitt mango comes into play and thrives. When the Keitt varietal gets the abundant rain and it’s coupled with the intense end-of-summer heat, the result is GIGANTIC mangoes – aka Mochis Keitts. (Keitt Kong by the way was a very clever idea by Splendid!)

This season, like most, we find ourselves a bit perplexed about exactly what will happen next in terms of size and quality. What we do know is that a significant amount of rain fell in a short time (attributed to Hurricane Hillary) amidst some of the most intense heat the region has seen in a while. We anticipate the mangoes getting bigger, faster with this growth-inducing cocktail. Generally speaking, everyone seems to have a ‘so far so good’ attitude about the crop.

Excessive rains are a funny thing; rain is always welcome and beneficial, especially right around harvest time. But an excess, too much too fast, particularly during a drought or extremely dry conditions (which we have seen in Mochis), can lead to complications in quality later down the road. There is some trepidation currently (there always is 😊) as we watch to see what actually happens. We are all on watch and yet just moving forward as normal. My personal anxiety has been somewhat alleviated as I spoke to various sources regarding the actual conditions in the area.

Most everyone agrees that the ground was parched enough, and the soil healthy enough (YES!) that the heavy rains that came rapidly were absorbed quickly and efficiently, only benefiting the growth and health of the mangoes and deterring what one source described as a lingering ‘steam bath’ effect, which is when the ground gets too saturated and when combined with intense heat creates a thick, humid layer that bubbles the orchards. A layer that’s way too humid and tropical for commercial mango production.

Everyone agrees that the most important thing to watch for is more excessive rain. But for now, things are good. Quality of fruit landing has been exceptional; flavor has been incredibly sweet and complex thanks to the heat. At this stage in the crop, we anticipate the season pushing forward on a positive note and lasting until the third week of September give or take some days.

Speaking of positives, our partners in the area have reported a few pockets of  micro-orchards that are still yielding some smaller fruit. So, for the time being, there is still a hint of size diversity. I’ll be back next week with another update to see how size and quality pan out.

What & Where is Mochis?
The Los Mochis area, located approximately 200-250 miles north of our hometown of Rosario and Empaque Don Jorge, has been designated as a fruit fly-free zone by APHIS. This designation means that no treatments are required for the importation of fruits and vegetables into the USA, and for organic mangoes, this means no hot water treatments.

“Los Mochis” as we refer to it, also known as Sinaloa de Leyva, is situated about an hour’s drive inland from the city of Los Mochis, a coastal town on the Sea of Cortez in the northern part of the state of Sinaloa. This area has experienced significant agricultural growth in recent years, transitioning from primarily sugar production to the cultivation of various agricultural products, including a substantial increase in mango production. While most of this mango production is conventional, a handful of farmers are involved in organic mango farming and luckily they are part of our mango family!

The Mochis Associates
El Grupo Crespo has a very large infrastructure network throughout most mango regions in Mexico. The Crespo family has been building this infrastructure and expanding since their onset in agriculture in 1960.  (No doubt, you’ve perused numerous of my “ Pulitzer Prize-worthy” articles on the topic.) The Mochis region, however,  is the one exception. In this region, during end of the  Mexican season we rely solely on two carefully selected, strong organic partnerships that have been being built and forged the same way the Crespo family has built the rest; hard work, lots of sweat, openness, cooperation and the sharing of information, ideas and profits; all of which essentially places emphasis back on the growing communities and people, making sure they can be sustainable and profitable for generations to come while simultaneously increasing sales and consumer satisfaction in the US and Canadian markets.

Both of these grower/packer operations offer ample state-of-the-art cooling systems, as well as the most advanced machinery for washing, polishing, and packing. The cooling systems are invaluable for maintaining our quality in a region that experiences incredibly high temperatures during a specific time period. Not only do they supply us with 100% of their organic fruit volumes, but they are also capable of packing all of our various pack sizes, including our popular Net-Bags and A Case for Consumer programs, right up until the end of the season – which is no small feat with large mangoes! It’s not just the Keitt mangoes at the end of the season; they also provide us with one last sweet dose of Ataulfos in late July. Our Ataulfo program is one of our longest, largest, and most popular mango programs, making this final delivery incredibly important in the big picture and consumer #MangoJoy. Additionally, some of our specialty mangoes are also available from this region, extending the season and proving to be incredibly valuable for future varietal growth.

Empaque Macapul
El Grupo Crespo and the Crespo family has been collaborating with Empaque Macapul for over 15 years with mangoes as well as other commodities. They are both growers and packers, and one of only a handful of certified organic packinghouses in the region. In addition to the services they offer with mangoes, they offer packing services for other fruits and vegetables grown in the region.

With over 50 hectares of mango production, they supply the Crespo Organic brand with Ataulfo, Kent, Keitt as well as some of our opulently tagged Mallika & Nam Doc Mai specialty mangoes . The packing capacity of Macapul is about 4 truckloads per day.

You can see the entire mango packing process at Empaque Macapul on their Facebook Page.

Empaque Don Juan
Don Juan started as mango growers and evolved into what they are today a very large and powerful grower/packer. They  packed their product at Macapul for the first years and then eventually built their own packing facility three years ago, which offers packing services to many. Production wise they have over 300 hectares of production. The facilities are basically new and modern and clean and spacious with substantial cooling  space.

Don Juan currently does not have a website or social media presence (we will try and help change that!) so for now we can offer a little slider of photos (below)  so you can see the impressive place yourself!

How & When It Ends?
That is the big question for us always on the organic side. We typically end the season as soon as any quality defects appear due to weather issues. We will keep our eyes on the weather closely and try and choose the sweetest spot to end. Volatile endings after all are much more difficult than amical ones after all!

Read more about the Keitt mango HERE


Farm, Featured, News

Rosario Keitt Mangoes

August 4, 2023

Blush filled end of season crop expectations for Sinaloa (Rosario & Mochis)

 This time of year is bitter-sweet for many of us immersed in the abundance of Mexican-produced mangoes. We find ourselves at the beginning of the end, as the Ataulfo mangoes have now finished, and the southern region’s Sinaloa Kents are being picked in their final batches.

Throughout the last 7 months of the season, we have withstood the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows, as all six mango-producing regions delivered their best. If you’ve been part of the Crespo program, you’ve had the opportunity to experience and savor over 7 different varietals so far, including the new Crespo Organic Specialty Mangoes. It’s been quite a journey, and we all feel a bit weary and maybe even a little burnt out, which is understandable considering we’ve been on a wild, and ideally sweet, ride up until this point.

And then, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, enters everybody’s favorite mango – the Keitt mango – rejuvenating and exciting us all! The Keitt mango holds a special place, distinct from the other varietals produced in all regions, as it is predominantly grown in the Sinaloa region and signals the end of the long Mexican mango season.

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Featured, Kitchen, News

Crespo Organic Debuts Opulent Specialty Mango Tags

July 2, 2023

Educational, Insightful, & Strategic Packaging

 I am very proud of the  work we are releasing today with the launch of the new Mango Queen specialty mango line!! I am very proud of the  Crespo Organic Mango brand in general– not just in relation to my work in creating its modern form, but also the work of the countless others in El Grupo Crespo who shaped it’s reality, regardless of the marketing. The brand is essentially a modern manifestation of founder Roberto Crespo Fitch’s original vision: that hard work, expertise, and innovation toward growing quality mangoes, while nurturing the community on which said mangoes are grown, will bring success. Success for the family, the business, the community, and mango eaters, too.

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Featured, Kitchen

Mexican-Mango Oleo-Saccharum

June 25, 2023

A  flavor-laden libation syrup made from mango peels

I love the exploratory process of creating new recipes, getting to travel through so many unknowns as I connect ideas and ingredients. Exploring new and unfamiliar possibilities with my creativity  fills me with incredible joy. This new recipe brought a lot of joy in the creation process and in the enjoyment of the drink, which I’m currently sipping on whilst I type.

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Farm, Featured, News

“Little” Fruit Brings Opportunity

May 31, 2023

Crespo mango expertise bridges transition into Summer Mango Mania

 I’ve been selling organic mangoes for a long time and, as so many of us forget, the greatest season-long program success happens when you nail the transitions. It’s the performance during the transition that dictates what stores have fruit and at what price. Just like in music, those connecting notes, the transitions is what leads you to the next phase of the whole. We take the transitions seriously, we get creative and we utilize the partnerships we forget with customers, making it work. Clear communication, more than anything is pivotal for any transitional success, in particular when there are volume supply or quality issues at play. The direct relationships to customers and the nimble work we do together, with the trust of the consumers who fuel our program, make the transitions easier to maneuver through so we can build and grow successful organic Mexican mango programs…. This is what we are known for.

The Crespo’s fully and vertically integrated supply chain and direct-trade selling system is what makes them the mango experts. It’s because of that expertise we will not skip a beat in the final days of the great mango transition, which is when a regional production shift from southern Oaxaca & Chiapas to Northern Nayarit and Sinaloa happens.

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Featured, News

What the Heck is Summer Mango Mania?

May 11, 2023

Quick answer: #MangoJoy by way of #MuchosMangoes PRICED RIGHT

Summer:  the warmest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from June to August
Mango: a tropical oval or oblong fruit with succulent and juicy aromatic pulp and firm varying color blush toned skin and a hard central pit
Mania: an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession

 The mango’s popularity is soaring to new heights amongst Americans as they learn what the rest of the world already knew about the most widely consumed fruit globally. It is versatile and delicious and, thanks to the proximity of Mexico and Crespo Organic, priced perfectly at the peak of summertime.

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