Mango Mystery Solved

In Ecuador, they take mangoes seriously

Last week, a mango, labeled as “sweet,” had had enough time to ripen. It felt right and looked right. Yet when I cut a slice for breakfast, it was sour. I reacted the way any self-respecting consumerist would: After coffee, I sent an email to the Ecuador Mango Foundation (EMF) describing my objection to picking and exporting mangoes that look good but taste sour.

That evening the phone rang. It was a call from the Ecuadorian grower who had been sent my complaint by the EMF. We discussed the mango situation. Turns out there are two varieties of mangoes in Ecuador. One is sweet, the other is sweet and sour. By analyzing the skin color, she was sure it was the latter. When she found out I had paid $4.99 she was astonished. (The best mangoes in Ecuador are a fraction of that cost.)

She confirmed what my food research constantly shows: American super market chains insist on buying fruit that that looks good and ships without damage. Taste is secondary. Promises about how the fruit tastes (or how organically it is grown) are truthless labels. But she was determined to show me that her farms produce sweet mangoes. She contacted her American distributor to send me a box of ripe mangoes—and had me promise to let her know when they arrive and how they taste.

Comment: We are off to a good start to reach our family 2012 goal of $650 in cash and credits for “fresh” food that looks better than it tastes. $29.07 last week, including the faulty mango. If you are fed up with supermarket  deception about fresh, local and organic food, you can learn how to battle back from my book, The Consumerist Manifesto Handbook.  More info at




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