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.
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.
Ataulfo ~ Champagne ~ Yellow ~ Manila
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.