Coming to fruition?
Monday June 16th 2014, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden

Another thing that happened at Lee’s birthday celebration: I have long wanted to know whom to ask, someone who really knew, and wow, there he was.

Years ago the local paper did an article on a type of mango so fiberless and fragile and so perfect that it could not be shipped to grocery stores, and expats from India would sign up at an Indian grocer in the area for so many cases and would wait to meet a planeload’s worth coming in: picked and picked up all in a very short time frame, at astronomical prices.

I remembered the story but not the variety.

I’ve talked for two years now about buying a mango tree and about what it would take to have it survive any freezing temps here. One grower’s suggestion led to the classic protest from Richard about how he was not going to be the neighbor with Christmas lights up in March. Which is funny. But he had a point.

There are other ways. Some fairly difficult.

Lee’s friend Dani was from India and he’s done those signups. He grew up with an Alphonso tree in his yard producing one to two hundred a year, and he said it was THE mango, the only mango, the most coveted one in all of India. The perfume! He mimed waving it towards his face in blissful memory. So intense! The flavor! There was nothing like it, nothing.

Mallika was the variety I had thought I wanted. He had not heard of it. He’s been here awhile and it’s a new variety, maybe?

We emailed back and forth a bit afterwards and so he lit a fire under me to find out more.

Mallika: “Among the best.” Alphonso: “The best, the most sought after.” Ah. I had not compared them side by side before because I hadn’t known to.

But here’s the thing: at Lee’s that night, when I told Dani I’d more or less given up on the idea anyway, not quite sure I wanted another container tree (on a platform so that we could wheel it close to the house in winter–good luck with that chore) and not sure I wanted to plant it in the ground either, not sure it would survive without a lot of work–we do get some freezes, even if not many–he, having already found a 3 gallon size available (I want it a 7) via his phone by that point in the conversation, passionately urged me to go ahead and get that tree, emphasizing with each word: “If you don’t try you will never know.”

This just might happen after all and it will be because of him.

I’m now on the waiting list for notification for when the 7-gallon size comes in. Lee’s friend admitted he hopes I give him a few Alphonsos someday when it produces, and I assured him I owed him that thanks, yes. Absolutely.

I think that’s one of the reasons I put the tomato pots where I did last month: to prove there’s enough sun in that spot near the south side of the house for production. Done.

3 Comments so far
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I love mangos! The time I ever tasted one was in Sweden (of all places!) when the host father brought (a.k.a. “smuggled”) some back after a trip to India. Now I never know which mangos will be stringy or not here and they’re so pricey but I find when I get them in the “reduced” shelf they’re actually tasty and cost less.

Hope you aren’t on the waiting list too long!

Comment by LynnM 06.17.14 @ 6:46 am

You gave me my first ever mango when I was visiting years ago. I was in heaven! Since then it seems its harder to find good ones in the stores. How about I schedule a visit when yours (eventually) are going to be ready? Sounds like a good reason for a plane trip to me.

Comment by Marian 06.17.14 @ 8:07 am

Guess what dinner included tonight – a mango, of course! Not an Alphonso, but still a delight. Especially piled with blueberries, so a visual treat, as well.

Comment by twinsetellen 06.17.14 @ 5:32 pm

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