When I drive around the island, there’s something missing this summer. It only started to dawn on me in the past week what it is. Mangoes. Hawaiian mangoes, they’re simply the world’s best.
As each new year begins, my eyes gravitate naturally to the green mangoes growing. I spot the trees easily with their purple colored new leaf growth. It’s all something I take for granted. This year was no different. I began to dream in anticipation of June’s new crop, and July’s abundance. I drooled picturing myself standing over the sink with mango juice running down my hands and mouth.
But there were signs
When I walked through the yard a month ago, I noticed that the mango tree I’d planted a decade ago had grown tremendously but was without a single fruit. Strange I thought, perhaps just due to the unusually abundant Spring rains. Mangoes don’t much like that. No worries, the world-famous Waimea mango trees would keep me in good summer stead. Those trees, up to 150 years old, are rightly reputed to be the source of the world’s best mangoes.
Last week, however, driving by my favorite trees on the island, I noticed something I hadn’t remembered seeing before. There were either no mangoes, or just a very few, everywhere.
I checked in at a local store known to sell mangoes to see if they had any, which they did not. Instead they were selling inferior Mexican mangoes. When I asked I was told by a friend that the crop had failed.
It may well have been the excessive Spring rains, which have continued into Summer, that caused the crop failure. No one knows for sure. Another contributing factor may have been that last year’s crop was larger than normal. Fruit trees often alternate between prolific and lean years.
Can you still find Hawaiian mangoes?
In a word, yes. If you are willing to pay. If you took advantage of one of the great Hawaii summer travel deals we posted recently, perhaps you’ve got some leftover change to spend on mangoes. I’ve seen them at the farmers markets in the $7 each or $5/lb. range. Last year, I paid $1 for each huge, luscious mango. Note: Those mangoes that are on the trees seem to be ripening later than normal, so if you’re looking, you may find more available in the late summer than normal.
More on Hawaii’s summer fruits
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