By: Barbara Erickson.
In 2013, Mexico became the number one producer of mangos in the world, replacing India. And, the majority of Mexico’s mangos are grown right here in our state of Guerrero! 1
Mexico exports mangos to the United States, Canada, Japan, UK, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Guatemala, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, Costa Rica, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Brazil, South Korea, Colombia, and Sweden.
The state of Guerrero is the main producer of mangos with 22 percent of the total national volume; Nayarit, with 17 percent, and Sinaloa with 14 percent. These three states contribute 53 percent of national production. The rest is produced in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Michoacán, Veracruz, Jalisco, Colima and Campeche.
Mangos are not only delicious, but they are extremely important to the local economy. The mango industry in Guerrero employs eighty-five thousand workers (not full time) in fifty-eight municipalities in Guerrero, including Zihuatanejo.
Mango trees grow well here in the Zihuatanejo area. The majestic trees can reach heights of thirty meters, with broad canopies and thick sturdy trunks. Trees have been known to live three hundred years and produce as many as six thousand fruits in a season! Here, in younger orchards, the trees are often topped after harvest to keep them manageable and encourage better yields.
You can see established mango orchards along Interstate Highway 200 and younger orchards along the road to Barra de Potosi. The pendulous golden fruits hang tantalizingly from their long heavy stems, making our mouths water at the sight of them. Mango fruit stands pop up along the road ways and at the local mercado; the variety and abundance can be overwhelming.
The most popular varieties of mangos are the Manila and the Ataulfo; both are kidney-shaped and deep yellow. They are Asian varieties, tolerant of humidity and resistant to pests and disease. Early orchards here grew the petacon (paraiso) and Haden varieties; large oval fruits, generally a deep green color blushing to pink and orange when ripe. A favorite early season mango is the criollo; a small kidney shaped fruit often harvested when green and cooked whole with lots of sugar as a dessert.
Mangos are not only delicious; they are excellent sources of vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin. There is some evidence that these substances are helpful in preventing macular degeneration, another reason to enjoy mangos at this time of year. They contain vitamin C, some of the B vitamins, and even vitamin E. Mango leaves, bark, and skins are used medicinally to treat bronchitis and internal hemorrhaging. But beware: mangos are part of the family that includes poison ivy and their skins and sap can be highly irritating.
One way to enjoy the bounty of mangos we have this time of year is to make Mango Cobbler. See the link to the recipe below and get on your way to year round enjoyment of this delicious fruit.
1Source: Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food) http://www.sagarpa.gob.mx/saladeprensa/2012/Paginas/2014B289.aspx .
For more information about Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and surrounding areas, see: