A far cry from last year’s disappointing crop
There is nothing like mangoes when they are in season in Cayman. In fact, the older folks would say “pot tun down, no cooking, eat mangoes.”
North Side farmers Zelmalee and Willie Ebanks, who own a farm with more than 500 mango trees in Hutland, a place known for its wide variety of mangoes, said this year’s mangoes crops are in abundance. Ms. Ebanks said the farm is averaging 8-900 pounds a day since the beginning of June. After a heavy shower of rain the mangoes will ripen faster and will be a greater harvest, she said.
Height of season
May marks the month that the tasty early varieties start ripening, and by June the bulk of mangos are ready for harvesting. Especially after a good shower of rain.
In Cayman, mangoes usually blossom in November and December with harvest time in June and July.
Known as the sweetest of Cayman tropical fruits, the mango is probably the best loved fruit for Caymanians and they are in abundance this year according to farmers and backyard growers.
Not only is the mango loved for its juicy pulpy texture in its natural state, but for the jam that is made from this delicious fruit. Combined with bread right out the oven, makes it the best.
Mangoes are also good for you. They are full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. High in fibre, mangoes are low in calories and should form a part of your healthy diet.
They are bursting with protective nutrients. The vitamin content depends upon the variety and maturity of the fruit, when the mango is green the amount of vitamin C is higher, as it ripens the amount of beta carotene [vitamin A] increases.
The best way to select a ripe mango is to smell and feel it; it should smell pleasantly fragrant and yield slightly to gentle pressure.
Hamlin Stephenson, farmer/owner of Hamlin’s Farms in Bodden Town said there are lots of mangoes this year and still more to come in. “My trees had two crops and some trees have mangoes ripening,” he said.
This is a far cry from last years crop, of which many farmers said was the worst mango season they have seen in years.
From its first flowering, a mango can take four to five months to full maturity, with maybe only a percentage of the fruit ever making it to full maturity.
This can be due to a number of factors such as diseases, fallen fruit, birds and other animals eating off the early crops.
The mango is a juicy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees, cultivated mostly for edible fruit. The majority of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. They all belong to the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae.
Cayman has many varieties of mangoes. The local native is the “common” mango, which is also known to some as the stringy or hairy mango. Other popular varieties imported in recent years are Carrie, Nam Doc, St. Julian, East Indian and Keitt.