Sultry July in South Florida means only one thing: Fairchild’s International Mango Festival, which brings us together to swelter, sample, sip, savor and celebrate the world’s best fruit.
Did you taste and vote for Mallika? Bombay? Nam Doc Mai? Or did you skip the tasting room and go straight to the fruit market to scoop up pails of ripe mangos to take home and share? What? You don’t share mangos?
For the Saturday morning crowd, Joanna’s Market handed out mango cream puffs, Keez Beez offered tiny tastes of mango honey and Bangkok Cuisine served green mango with a spicy chili dip. Mmmmmm. Red quinoa mixed with edamame, raisins, onions and mango offered by Whole Foods proved another way to enjoy the super succulent fruit.
Mango smoothies, ice cream, mango ice tea…. the possibilities seemed endless. And what really seemed endless was the collection of fruit on display in the garden house throughout Saturday, shining in amethyst, pink, golden, green and rose colors that dazzled hundreds of visitors.
Horticulture director Richard Campbell ended his talk about mangos of Jamaica – which originated in India but were “selected” over generations, he said, from germinating seeds casually tossed into backyard compost heaps – with one secret for South Florida’s own backyard growers: “You get the sweetest fruit from the top of the southwest corner of the tree.” Make a note.
And senior fruit curator Noris Ledesma predicted that fruit of new cultivars being created now on the Fairchild Farm will be showing up at the festival in a couple of years. Reason enough, should you need any, to come back for more.