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Thread: What's the story on the mangos?

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    Default What's the story on the mangos?

    I walked into my co-op on Thursday evening, and the front display was all mangos. They had a French-something-something mango cut up, and I popped a piece in my mouth. It was far and away the best mango I've had in the United States.

    I grabbed a couple, and on getting them home noticed that they were labelled organic, fair trade, and grown in Haiti. I think this is the first time I've noticed buying fruit from Haiti.

    Maybe it's just my imagination, but these mangos seemed to the the culmination of a trend in seeing more and better mangos on the shelf of various grocery stores over the past five or so years. I've even been able to buy reasonably good mangos at the local supermarket recently, which never used to happen. And I'm not just noticing that they're better in season than out of season, I'm thinking they're getting better every spring.

    Is there a larger "mango story" out there that I've missed? Better seeds, climate change, better shipping technologies?

    I just hope these mangos stick around and don't become the new banana that was once delicious and is now usually cardboard.
     

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    Default Re: What's the story on the mangos?

    I think it is just the distribution networks/stores catching up with the wonderful varieties available. It is this wide variety that gives hope that they will withstand the effects of becoming more popular... The fate of the Cavendish Bannana is a terrible thing... The mango is quite a world wide fruit. The best ones I have ever had were in India, amazing colors and flavors! Here I tend towards the Ataulfo or similar smaller yellow varieties which have flavor closest to the best Indian varieties that of course don't get imported... I've had great ones in the caribbean region too...
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    Default Re: What's the story on the mangos?

    When I was about ten years old I had my first airplane ride from New York to Florida, where we visited my great grandfather in Miami. All I remember was a huge back yard with mango trees. Baba had a tool that looked like a cage on a pole and picked ya as many fresh mangoes as we could eat.


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    Default Re: What's the story on the mangos?

    I have used such a picker. My neighbor has a huge tree that is prolific. This tree also grows good mangoes. Not all of them are real good for eating. If you get into some that aren’t quite ripe yet, you can make pickled mango, which is a tasty snack.
     

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    Default Re: What's the story on the mangos?

    Quote Originally Posted by caleb View Post
    I walked into my co-op on Thursday evening, and the front display was all mangos. They had a French-something-something mango cut up, and I popped a piece in my mouth. It was far and away the best mango I've had in the United States.

    I grabbed a couple, and on getting them home noticed that they were labelled organic, fair trade, and grown in Haiti. I think this is the first time I've noticed buying fruit from Haiti.
    I bet it was a "Madame Francique" mango - they're considered the very best of all Haitian mangoes. (you'll see it spelled a bunch of different ways)

    I was born and grew up in Haiti, and whenever we had fruit salad that was the type used.

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    Default Re: What's the story on the mangos?

    If I remember this correctly, things like mangos and avocados are cost/price-based sized. Meaning that at one time or another, someone did a calculation on the costs associated with shipping mangos and avocados from Central/South America to the US and figured out how many had to go in a box to make shipping cost effective. And then they either looked for the right sized variants or bred mangos and avocados to be the right size, so they could pack enough of them in a box that they'd make their money back plus profit on the shipment. Unfortunately, in the case of the mango, this created a stringy tough fruit that was almost all seed, ripened unevenly and was not very taste consistent. But most Americans didn't know any better, so they sold enough of them that it was a worthwhile venture. And you could make mango shrimp and mango salsa. However, as the population of Latin Americans and Caribbean immigrants grew and became more established in the wider US, there were more people who knew what mangos were supposed to taste like and grocery stores catering to those groups wouldn't buy the standard import. And foodies started asking for better mangos, either like they had eaten on vacation or had seen discussed on food shows or read about in cookbooks, etc. And voila - a market for actual good tasting mangos is born.

    It was interesting watching the grocery store in Amagansett change over the seven years we rented out there. Originally, it was a Wonderbread, mayonnaise and iceberg lettuce grocery with a side order of beef. By the time we left, it had plantains, a whole aisle for beans and rice, several different brands of locally made tortillas, nopales, hominy, a whole section of chiles and lots of other things, all fresh, good quality, good condition. And the butcher had a sign out that said "panzita" or beef tripe for menudo.
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    Default Re: What's the story on the mangos?

    Jorn, that makes a bunch of sense. Thanks.

    As for the price side of this solution, I think the mangos in question were something like $2.99 or $3.99 per piece, and the one I have left weighs 14oz. No matter how you measure or figure, they're < $5/lb. I get that the food business is run on tiny margins so a little bit of a price increase can make all sorts of new foodstuffs pencil that didn't before, but it's still mind boggling that a pound of sand, much less a super fine mango, can land on the shelf of a fancy pants grocer for five bucks. Not sure I want to speculate too long about the supply chain that makes it possible.
     

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    Default Re: What's the story on the mangos?

    Worse than that. WF is selling the cute little yellow orange ones for $1 apiece... Boggles the mind.
    Guy Washburn

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