It’s probably safe to say that when asked which fruit is the most popular in the world, most Americans and Canadians would respond with apples or bananas. That answer would be normal, but far from accurate.
To the amazement of most Americans, mangoes are consumed worldwide by a factor of three to one over bananas and ten to one over apples. Although mangoes are still considered exotic fruits in the United States, ranking 24th of the 25 most consumed fruits in the United States, they are considered staples in India, South Asia, China, and Latin America; He is often referred to as “the king of fruits.” Evidently, those in the many corners of the world have learned something that has yet to be discovered in North America!
There are more than 2,000 different varieties of mangoes that range in size from a few ounces to four pounds. One thing they all have in common is their nutritional value; Mangoes are a fantastic source of vitamins C and E, niacin, potassium, iron, and beta-carotene that are converted to vitamin A in the body.
The fresh and ripe mango is a very juicy and sweet fruit with a unique and delicious flavor. Some mangoes have a soft, pulpy texture similar to an overripe plum, while others have a firmer flesh similar to that of a melon.
Mangoes are widely used in hot sauce, fruit bars, cereal products, juices, cakes, ice cream, and even milk shakes. Although a bit messy due to their high juice content, they can be enjoyed by simply slicing the fruit like a peach or pear.
Okay, now that we know what the most popular fruit in the world is, we need to determine where these mangoes come from. Mangoes are grown in the tropics, but India is by far the largest producer and consumer of mangoes in the world. In fact, for more than 6,000 years, mango trees have been a status symbol in India. Behind India are other areas of South Asia and parts of Australia. It wasn’t until the 19th century that mangoes were introduced to parts of Africa, South America, Hawaii, and Mexico.
For years India has been unsuccessfully negotiating the export of mangoes to the US, however recently some deals have been finalized, clearing the way for the export of mangoes from India to the US in return. , they will allow the United States to export peas, beans, almonds and, if you believe it, Harley Davidson motorcycles to India. Of the mangoes currently arriving in the United States and Canada, approximately 80% come from Mexico, and the majority are grown in the Mexican state of Nayarit, which is located on the same latitude as Hawaii.
Nayarit, one of the 31 states of Mexico, is located along the Pacific Ocean and has its southern border with the state of Jalisco. The beautiful tourist destination and retirement community of Puerto Vallarta is located on the border of these two states with its downtown or El Centro located in Jalisco and Nuevo Vallarta located in Nayarit. Puerto Vallarta is located at the northern end of the Mexican Riviera and recently, Fonatur, the National Board of Tourism and Development of Mexico, has coined the term Riviera Nayarit for that section of the pristine and majestic Pacific coast in the state of Nayarit. As a note of interest, Fonatur has recently allocated billions of dollars for a 15-year development program that will include more than 20,000 new condominiums and villas with associated infrastructure. This entire area is surrounded by mango orchards where approximately 1.5 million metric tons of mangoes are grown annually, making Mexico the third largest mango producer after India and China.
After vacationing in Vallarta two or three times a year for 15 years, we decided to move there in 1997 and make Vallarta our permanent retirement destination. We purchased our dream mountain side villa with a panoramic view of the Bay of Banderas in an area known as the Beverly Hills of Vallarta. One of our first projects was landscaping the ½ acre lot on the mountainside. With an abundance of tropical flowers and fruit trees available, the choice of plants was difficult and somewhat overwhelming.
After living in the United States for 55 years, we were practically oblivious to the qualities that mangoes had to offer. However, due to their abundance in local supermarkets, we decided to give them a try. To our surprise, they were absolutely delicious; Maybe better than any fruit we’ve ever had! A decade later, after enjoying a steady supply of mangoes for ten years, it’s hard to imagine that we’ve gone a lifetime without enjoying mangoes and that so many other Americans have missed this experience as well.
Okay, let’s get back to the landscaping project. Since we were introduced to the many beneficial qualities that mangoes offer, we decided to plant some mango trees and were directed to a nursery in Nayarit, about 10 miles from home. The nursery was located on the edge of a huge mango orchard where mangoes grew as far as the eye could see.
The orchard / nursery owners gave us a short presentation on mangoes, briefly highlighting the differences between the varieties grown there. After the presentation, they asked us why we were buying mango trees. We informed them that we loved the taste of mangoes and that we were gardening our new garden and we thought it would be nice to have fresh mangoes available. As is so typical in Mexico, instead of selling us some mango trees, they suggested that we save time, hassle, and money and serve ourselves the mangoes. They pointed to the orchard and indicated that there were millions of mangoes and that we could have whatever we wanted for free; They would even help us fill the car if we needed help! We never buy those trees, but we have an unlimited supply of those delicious mangoes!
That was one of the first lessons we learned in Vallarta when it comes to Mexican hospitality. It’s no wonder Puerto Vallarta was selected as the world’s friendliest tourist destination by a recent Conde Nast reader poll. One of the reasons for the friendliness of the area is probably due to its perfect climate. Not only is it perfect for mangoes, but with an average daily temperature of 73 ° F for seven months out of the year, it is perfect for its residents.
In short, if you are interested in trying some of the most popular fruits in the world, you may want to visit the most popular tourist destination in the world, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and have some real fun while sipping your mango margarita. !