By Clint Thompson
Florida mango lovers will soon be able to sample this year’s crop, according Alan Chambers, University of Florida Assistant Professor/Genetics and Breeding of Tropical Fruits.
“The mangoes are just beginning to ripen now,” he said. “Fresh mangoes from Florida will soon be available. We had multiple mango blooms this year in response to multiple cold spells. As a result, we have fruit at multiple maturity levels on the trees at the same time. This will complicate harvesting.”
Mangoes are grown commercially in Florida in Dade, Lee, and Palm Beach Counties, according to University of Florida/IFAS Extension. Mangoes are grown in tropical and subtropical lowlands throughout the world.
As part of his research responsibilities, Chambers focuses on the quality of the mango. He has mature trees established at the station in Homestead, Florida. He samples individual aroma compounds. He determines how sweet the fruit are, the size they are and how much they weigh. Its essential information for local growers who want to produce a desirable fruit for consumers.
“It really helps our growers who are looking for, ‘Which one should I grow? Which ones are the best that consumers like? Which ones are they willing to pay more for?’” Chambers said. “Most of the domestic mango industry is based on imports. In South Florida, there’s higher costs of production for land, inputs and labor. Our growers make their money based on specialty products, so offering something with a higher quality or that’s safer or that’s different than what you can get in the grocery store.”
Marketing for mangoes is mostly done locally. Chambers said some of the product does get sold and shipped up the east coast.
For more information about mango production, see University of Florida/IFAS Extension.