Following a rough start to the organic Mexican mango season, production in northern producing regions continues to build with improving quality fruit that should lead to promotional opportunities for suppliers and retailers.
The organic mango season started in early January, in the southern Mexico growing region of Oaxaca, with extensive Tommy Atkins shortages due orchard delays. As the season progressed, unpredictability inside the orchards continued to perplex producers, despite the overall “good” season” most growers anticipated. Many mango varietals continue to be challenged, with overall readiness and size extremely difficult to gauge. As such, markets have lacked big fruit for much of the season.
Tommy Atkins mangoes (photo credit Nissa Pierson)
“All season we have been witnessing varietals not preforming normally in terms of growth rates. The behavior of the trees is so diverse per varietal and we have had limited ability to witness and predict patterns accurately”, said Jose Angel Crespo of RCF Distributors. “Luckily we have an incredible and established customer base that reacts well on the organic side and that has made these challenges feel manageable.”
Jonathan Kitchens, mango buyer for Earls Organic Produce, echoes the sentiment, “One of the keys to our success with mangos this season and likely into the future is flexibility and adaptability in terms of sizing and varietals. Erratic patterns are becoming the norm and with consumer excitement for mangoes at an all-time high, we must bring in a wide range of sizing in for both ataulfos and round varietals in order to capture the demand,” he said.
Jose Angel Crespo, RCF Distributors
Despite some varietal and sizing challenges, as the Mexican season moves into the two largest organic producing regions- Nayarit and Sinaloa---- the supply is met with heighted North American summertime demand from consumers.
While larger sized organic mangos are more difficult to find, Kitchens said that Earl’s is seeing a massive increase in demand for larger fruit this season and said the Bay Area consumers are willing to pay for it. Crespo confirmed larger fruit availabilities will be available in the next 12 days, but most likely not enough to feed the insatiable demand.
Kent Mangoes (photo credit Nissa Pierson)
Summer supplies will vary by varietal. Currently the organic mango market is heavy on the Tommy Atkins varietal, which will continue through the end of June, before moving to the Kent varietal in July. Keitt varietals are also projected in July from Nayarit and August from Sinaloa. Overall, strong and steady supplies of round mangoes are forecast, with mass market 9/10 volumes looking excellent through August.
The Ataulfo mango, however, appears to be the organic star of the season. The Mexican varietal has grown considerably in terms of consumer demand, as more and more shoppers are falling in love with the buttery texture and super sweet flavor. Many organic distributors and retailers have seen incredible sales results by offering out an Ataulfo alongside round mangoes.
Jonathan Kitchens, mango buyer, Earls Organic Produce
Kitchens said “Ataulfo demand is on the rise and specifically large Ataulfos, “with his company’s sales “up 400% over last year’s numbers.” “I think retailers now have a solid understanding of the fruit in terms of ripening, texture and flavor. The fruit is attractive and gorgeous on large floor displays and provides a wonderful transition out of winter’s lack of fruit diversity,” he said.