And then you move on to later in June and July, you have other varieties come in.
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So you only have a few weeks to have each variety of mango. Which is part of the fun. There are mangoes that are sweet with a touch of sourness. There are mangoes where they are very fleshy and there are mangoes that do not have that much flesh but sucking the bone gives you a lot of syrup. So it is difficult to say that this mango or that mango. You know? Now I know. It all goes back to our good friend David Fairchild.
The Mango Orchard: Travelling Back to the Secret Heart of Mexico
GRABER: You might remember from that episode that in the late s, he paid Indian children to suck the flesh off mangoes so he could send the seeds back to the U. We got Indian mangoes here! So then what happened? So as it happens, only one from that original batch of seeds survived. KARP: But that just happened to be like the strongest tree, not necessarily the tastiest one.
Just the only one that survived. But in my local supermarket, the mangoes are mostly red. And they planted a whole bunch of mangoes.
REVIEW: The Mango Orchard: The extraordinary true story of a family lost and found by Robin Bayley
John died, but Florence, she discovered a beautiful blushing red mango among their trees. And this Haden variety of mango took Florida by storm. Which created yet another genetic bottleneck. In fact, the most common mango in American stores today, the Tommy Atkins, is a direct descendant of the original Haden. And, as David pointed out, Tommy Atkins ships well. For the most part they come from Latin America. The rest come from Peru and Brazil. The varieties are not the greatest to begin with. KUHN: Because of a particular seed weevil they have to be dipped in hot water for what seems to be an incredibly long period of time.
Thirty minutes of that should turn it into mush! What kind of fruit can survive that?
I mean nothing bothers Tommy Atkins. GRABER: I do want to mention that you can find some halfway decent mangoes if you look for small yellow ones called champagne mangoes, or ataulfo mangoes. And they are grabbing market share.
Those are the ones I want. Is there really no way to get hold of those?
See a Problem?
Because you are so lucky today, even though it is so late for mango season, I was able to get some mangoes for you this morning, so I was so excited about it. Which was awesome. But the morning of the show, we drove a few miles south of town to visit the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Today, the gardens have more than 6, different plant species.
And Noris Ledesma is in charge of the tropical fruit trees—particularly their mango collection. I wanted to be comfortable. I like rubber boots. And when she came to work at Fairchild, she inherited the mango collection. But it also might have been fate. Obviously, if you ask an Indian, they will say the mango comes from India.
And based on his research, he has a different theory. So they start disseminating these seeds and people start selecting mangoes that they like. With hundreds of varieties of flavors. We were already reeling when we heard Rhitu and Sohail describe the varieties of mango in India but Noris had laid out a table-ful of mangoes for us—thirty or more, from all over Southeast Asia. GRABER: We started off listening to her and trying it out—the peel has a particular smell, the parts near the stem taste a little different than the rest—but really, soon Nicky and I were just shoving pieces in our mouths.
Some of them had really unexpected flavors—onion and garlic and even blue cheese. And it has cheese, actually blue cheese. But then there were other surprises awaiting us. So it is an occasion for that and a kind of mango for that. The point is, we have now eaten truly amazing mangoes. And lots of them!
But now I am back home in Los Angeles and the mango situation is just all the more disappointing, frankly. Separately, they are each working on breeding the mango of the future. But David is working on genetic markers for specific traits.
The Mango Orchard: The Extraordinary True Story of a Family Lost and Found
So it cuts down on your evaluation costs. You only put things that are potentially going to be better out into the field. But of course Barbie and David are certainly also interested in flavor. But the reality is then our farmers are losing a lot of money with the yellow-skinned mangoes. Because the market is looking for perfection. And the yellow-skinned mangoes can show better any scars and imperfection than they have, and the losses for the farmers is about 40 percent in yellow mangoes compared with the red mangoes skin.
And it hides dings better than yellow. And it has more built-in antioxidants too. Nothing like the complexity of mangoes. We have two very promising sounding candidates to replace the Tommy Atkins at my local supermarket.
My Shopping Bag
But I am not a patient person. I believe in her. The Avocado Association had done an extraordinary job. GRABER: As you might remember from our recent avocado episode, the avocado board did a whole sexy fruit job on the avocado, and it worked. And also you have to put a lot of things in order to eat it. You know you have to put salt, garlic, olive oil.
Cynthia and I are aware that we have just done something really unfair to you, dear listeners. We have told you that your mangoes suck, we have painted a picture of mango paradise, and now what? They can come to the Everglades National Park and eat mangoes with us.