Last Saturday was a day I have been waiting for for a long, long time. The Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden's 20th annual mango festival. I know what you're thinking, there's going to be a lot of mango pictures in this post. We actually didn't get a single picture of the hundreds of thousands of mangoes they had there.
We had a late start to our day so when we got there I was pushing like Patton to get to the mango tasting event even through the hellish heat. Natalie kept telling me to slow down because we had plenty of time. I misread the webpage though and thought the mango tasting was only 9:30-12:00. After taking a half hour to park we had 15 minutes of walking to do and it was already after 11.
I don't remember all the mangoes we tasted but they had Beverly, Ruby, Mallika, Nam Doc Mai, Duncan, Kent, Mesk, and one from Mynamar but I cant remember the name and I can't find it online. For anyone that doesn't understand how many mango varieties there are just look at this link. Fairchild is constantly developing new mango varieties.
I was holding Adriana with my left arm and trying to taste the mangoes with my right. Adriana loves mangoes and after every taste she would say "more mango" or "another mango". We had to get in line for a second round and she still just wanted more and more.
So what varieties were the best? I voted the best was Nam Doc Mai. I have that tree and my sister's family liked that one the best of the six I had them try when they were here. Second for me was the one from Mynamar, and then third I think I voted Duncan or Mallika. I can't remember. Mallika was good but over rated. My friend has one and says they are the best. They love them in India where they pick them green and ripen them in camel dung on the way to the market. I think it's somewhat similar to Valencia Pride (I have that tree too) but not as good and a little bit of a Papaya taste to it. Natalie voted for Mesk, Nam Doc Mai, and Beverly. Below is what I found on Fairchild's webpage. I think it's crazy. Actually even they think it's crazy Nam Doc Mai didn't win. It may be because they cut the Nam Doc Mai into really small cubes.
From Fairchild's page (they misspelled mangoes)After computing hundreds of votes, our Special Events department reports that the mangos with the most flavor appeal are these:
First Place: Kent
Second Place: Mallika
Third Place: Beverly
Close Fourth Place: Duncan
So why didn't Nam Doc Mai garner any ribbons? I think we should hold this thing over again.
After tasting I walked around and tried to find an Alphonso Mango. I have an Alphonso tree and have heard it's one of the best mangoes but I have never tried one yet. I couldn't find one there so I guess I'll have to wait until next year when my tree finally gets it's first crop. I did however buy a Tebow Mango, named after Tim Tebow. The ratings on the Tebow Mango are not an exaggeration. It's an excellent mango. I only had one and I think I should have let it ripen an extra day but even so it's definitely on my top six list. I'll have to buy more to give it a better analysis. While walking around we sampled some really good mango pie and mango ice cream. Natalie couldn't believe the thousands of people walking around. She was completely unaware that mangoes are the most popular fruit in the world and are known as "the king of fruits".
After getting some free samples and food we walked around and looked at the gardens. It was disgustingly hot so we only managed to stay until 3 and then we just couldn't take anymore. We got home completely beat. Natalie asked if it was all I thought it would be. I think it was fun, but just a little too expensive. It was hot, crowded, and expensive. 25 bucks a person and we didn't even last a full four hours.
Here are some pictures.
Adri with a Jackfruit
A dragon fruit that they made into a tree. I'm going to try to do this to my dragon fruit.
Adri enjoying her new thing, running off.
I like this heliconia