The mango has its ancestral roots in India, so something felt really right about shaking mangoes out of the trees today in Cardamom County. Right now I’m reading this delicious book called The Fruit Hunters, written by Adam Leith Gollner. Since I have started it, I have had a whole new context to put my experience of fruit in! Turns out there are over 1,100 varieties of mangoes. The ones I know and love from supermarkets back in the United States are the Tommy Atkins mangoes, which are more common in international commerce.
Indian mangoes apparently weren’t allowed into the states for almost thirty years due to “pest concerns.” Actually, it was more like, nuclear trade concerns. India and Canada had a nuclear trade relationship in which Canadian nuclear reactors were being used to build a nuclear arsenal. In 2007 though, India signed a nuclear treaty with the United States, only under the condition that India’s mangoes be allowed back in the states. Later when President Bush flew to India to discuss the deal, he announced, “the U.S. is looking forward to eating Indian mangoes.”
Today, we used this long pole with a curved knife at the top to shake the branches of the mango tree until they rained down. It reminded me off Easter egg hunting as we were all looked around and put our found mangoes in the bag. There was one ripe one that we cut open and shared. I agree with nutritionist Marion Nestle: “If you haven’t tasted fruits that are freshly picked, you have no idea how good they can be.” The rest we are going to let ripen in the bag, which is a tactic used to keep the monkeys from getting to them first.