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Optimistic start for Mexico organic mango season
The organic mango season in Mexico has just begun and growers are very confident about the prospects for the season. The dry conditions that impacted last year's crop are absent, instead replaced by optimal amounts of rain. Even the potentially damaging "La Ventosa" wind events that afflict the local region have not had as bad affect as in previous years.
"This week marks the start of the organic mango season in Oaxaca, with Chiapas opening next week," said Nissa Pierson, of Crespo Organic Mangoes. "Volume is looking good with both Chiapas and Oaxaca enjoying optimal weather conditions. Last year, there was a drought and we experienced a lot of smaller fruit, but this year, not only has there been ample rain, but it has fallen at just the right time."
"The La Ventosa winds, which are unique to Oaxaca, have also managed to avoid damaging the fruit," Pierson continued. "The strong winds occur when cold air from the north meets with warmer air from the south, after funneling though the Chivela Pass. This year, the winds did not cause as much damage as in previous years because they occurred after the trees had passed the bloom stage."
Mexico to fill gap after Peru season
The South American mango season is still continuing, however Mexico organic mango volume looks set to ease in just as the Peru season finishes up at the end of February. Producers are expecting good demand to continue as the warmer months approach.
"Volume from Mexico will start from the middle to the end of February," Pierson said. "Peru is peaking now and they tend to peak quickly. Last containers from Peru are expected by the end of February. Demand is expected to be good once the Mexico season starts and in the lead up to summer. We are very optimistic about the upcoming season where we will continue our direct consumer marketing, with promotions such as 'Mango Mania' in the summer months."
Pierson noted that in recent years, retailers have been switching over to Mexico supply earlier in the year. According to her, they are looking for fruit that hasn't traveled as far, which lends itself to sweeter varieties. "In the last 3-4 years, more retailers are flipping over to organic Mexican mangoes sooner," she said. "Supply is closer and the fruit is sweeter and overall better tasting. Additionally, Peru sometimes faces some end of season quality issues."
Ataulfo (right), next to a Tommy Atkins mango
Push to promote traditional name
One of the mango varieties that are sourced from the Oaxaca and Chiapas regions is the Ataulfo mango. Many consumers likely have never heard of this name, and yet, it is the very same variety going by the more popular name of honey mango. Pierson said this yellow mango variety is the only mango cultivar of Mexico, and is pushing for greater use of the traditional name.
"The Ataulfo represents 33% of the total organic mango crop in the region," she noted. "It's the first variety to begin the season and first to end. It's a very popular variety with a very sweet flavor profile, buttery texture and minimal fibers. The disappointing thing for us is that the Mango Board decided to name it the 'honey mango', with almost no consultation with producers. Therefore, we are pushing to promote the traditional name of Ataulfo, in the spirit of celebrating the Mexican culture."
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