Are we every really prepared for good things to end?
In recent years, Ataulfo mangoes have become a staple of many mango programs across the USA and Canada. Fruit eaters have warmed to this deliciously sweet and texturally silky mango. The path to increase consumer appreciation has not been easy for the Ataulfo, whose skin is most often blemished and overly wrinkled when it is perfectly ripe. Its shelf life is short, and bruises and scuffs tend to show up more on the Ataulfo – oftentimes showing up and disappearing and showing up and disappearing as the mango moves through the various stages of ripeness. Unlike its counterparts, the Ataulfo mango can only be eaten when ripe, so patience is a must and confusion among consumers regarding when it’s actually ready can be high. It’s Mexican name, celebrating its Mexican heritage, can be hard to pronounce for many North Americans, creating complications in education and marketing and spreading the joy for this mango varietal. Yet, despite all these obstacles, Mexico’s yellow slipper has succeeded, particularly in the organic sector, and especially as more consumers taste it and learn its nuances. Many retailers have succeeded greatly promoting this mango and sales have jumped in recent years. And now, just when everyone is used to its high dollar sales and consumer excitement, the season is ending.
A stronger box in the midst of chaos to ease the burden in building bigger displays of #MuchosMangoes
A few weeks ago I thought things were tough in our industry. With the Corona virus spreading through the USA at an alarming rate, mango sales and specifically the size of mango displays were not getting bigger, despite the wall of mangoes coming from the orchards.
The big, bold displays of #MuchosMangoes celebrating what we call Summer Mango Mania – or the collision point between peak production time in Nayarit & Sinaloa and the height of consumer demand, better known as; SUMMER TIME– have not begun to appear as they usually do by this time. This season, and this week in particular, everything looks different in our world and yet the mangoes still grow and people still eat.
Customers blew our minds with awesome displays of #MuchosMangoes
TheCrespo Organic Summer Mango Mania #MuchosMangoes promotion is the collision point between Nayarit and Sinaloa peak mango production, happening in the height of consumer demand, SUMMERTIME. For two months, usually starting to build volumes and displays in June, building up to gigantic consumer sales and buzz in July, a mango mania frenzy takes over the nation. The promotion happens when the orchards are at their most copies and this year we not only had over the top quality and a vast array of sizing options, but we had more participants in our annual display contests that we hold in conjunction with our wholesales and retailers.
Shortcutting the promotion of Mexico’s yellow slipper
This is an industry geared post.
Even though the rain is currently falling and the snow dropping, spring is definitely coming. It always does and when it does mango sales increase. 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 14/16/18 vs 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.
Mexico revs up mango engines with Ataulfos to start the season
Most packing sheds are currently opened, opening or will be opening in the next few weeks in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.
Ataulfos are on track to start first – some growers have started picking and others will start picking next week and, in the weeks, to follow. Ideally growers should be particular in the pack out as its been reported by several growers – we included- that because of heavy rains during December when fruit formation was taking place, much of the onset fruit may not be of the highest quality (on the outside). Some growers, like us, are opting to have more patience as the fruit behind the onset fruit is showing much better quality. Being particular in terms of pack out vs, the pack everything methodology that often occurs with the opening of the season, has proven to be more successful for our rather large Ataulfo program that lasts through August, typically.
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.
In my current life surrounded by mangoes, I meet countless mango lovers who fell head over heels through their excursions around the globe. (I personally discovered mangoes as a little girl in Nicaragua.) The mango embodies flavors of nostalgia, awakening the feeling of those far off exotic places with every bite. The most devout members of this mango lover tribe seem to be those who discovered mangoes while in Thailand. These mango lovers have tasted mangoes with a more dynamic richness and more stages of ripeness than anywhere else in the world. They also seem to be the only mango connoisseurs that know the sweet green mango!
As we soar into August we typically roll out of the long Mexican mango season. Some years the period winds down at the beginning or middle of August, and some others go through until the beginning of September. This season the latter is expected, it starts as far down as Chiapas and slowly makes its way up Mexico’s tropical Pacific coast, through Oaxaca, Michoacán, Jalisco, Nayarit, Baja and Sinaloa, with a grand finale in Los Mochis. The Keitt, a late-season cultivar originating in Florida from a Mulgoba seed, is most predominant in Sinaloa’s northern production. We also see a significant amount of this cultivar in the Rosario and Los Mochis areas of Sinaloa, which is the only mainland USDA NO TREATMENT zone for all imported mangoes into the USA (due to the area being declared a fruit fly-free zone by USDA). Its trees tend to tower on average at about 60 feet high. These large trees produce gigantic mangoes by comparison to others that we see in North & South America: if the average mango is a size 9cnt, the average Keitt comes in at about a 6cnt. Mangoes are sized for the USA/Canadian marketplace as a count in a 4Kg box, so a size 9cnt mango would weigh about a pound and a size 6cnt would weigh about a pound and half.
In the height of peak Mexican mango season in Sinaloa, usually around July, we see the markets giddy with anticipation for the Kent mango. As more and more Mexican farmers continue to do away with other consumer-coveted varietals, the Kent is generally a welcome addition on both sides.
The Ataulfo, often seen referred to as a Champagne Mango (a name trademarked by a specific importer years back) or yellow mango, is known as Mexico’s “yellow slipper”, (after the slipper shape) as it is described in Spanish. It is one of the most coveted mango varietals available to us in North America. The oval or (sort of) kidney bean-shaped fruit has a slightly spicy and vibrant, super sweet flavor; it is constantly revered for its nonfibrous flesh and buttery consistency, as well as its small narrow seed. In terms of mangoes, the Ataulfo offers what is pretty near perfection in a mango-eating experience. In my opinion, the flavors of the Ataulfo scream Mexico, with subtle but bright citrus (limón) and spicy (chili) undertones smothered in a sweet (sugar caramel) buttery flesh.
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.