What is gold and grows on trees? Yes that’s right mangoes! This year it’s been a real bumper crop, too, with everyone’s favorite fruit virtually dripping off the trees. It’s a hard time for many farmers, or those who supplement their income from backyard produce sales. Because of Covid-19, there are less customers and that has coincided with a bumper harvest, driving the prices down, but hopefully the numbers being harvested will more than make up for it.
Mangoes are everywhere, and people can be seen selling them from the front of their yard, if they have a few trees, to make a few extra dollars. Ryan McGhee has been selling them from his driveway in Hirst road, Savannah. The going rate is around two dollars a pound, and sometime Mr. McGhee has been making as much as 250 dollars an evening. “My grandparents they have about 15 to 20 trees and then down here at my house we have probably about ten or twelve trees here. This year has been a very fruitful harvest,” he said. “We have Carrie, Nam Doc, Jakarta Julie, Erwins, and Valencia Pride. His trade is as a heavy equipment man, but like many industrious Caymanians, he has to do whatever he can these days, and he also catches fish, and sometimes sells those too.”
The mangoes on his little table look mouth-wateringly good, and it isn’t long before one of his regular customers, a real mango lover, stopped by, “I like Carries, and Nam Doc, too, I just learned about those. I love them because they have no string, and are sweet; really a lot of food. I have them for breakfast and for dinner I put them in the fridge I peel them and it’s really a natural desert,” he said.
At the Farmers Market, COVID-19 restrictions have led to a temporary wire fence restricting access, so that customers have to enter by one entrance, overseen by a security person who makes sure everyone is wearing their face mask. But everyone is talking about mangoes, and the prices have gone right down to two dollars a pound or less. One customer has a plastic bag full of them, “I love them,” she said as she got into her car. “I eat them as they are, or make them into juice, or ice-cream.”
Jasmine from Willies farm in North Side was there selling mangoes, along with the other juices that Willies farm is famous for, and there’s nothing better than a bottle of 100% pure juice to quench your thirst on a hot day. “I have tamarin, fruit punch, passion fruit, cherry melon and we sell coconut water too,” she said.
About the mango situation Jasmine said: “I have a lot to sell, but they are not moving fast enough. That is why I have the 99-cents-a-pound weekend sale - we are trying to push them. The crop for mangos is really big I think our farm harvests around 3,000 pounds a day, and we supply the supermarkets. Last week we’ve been giving some away to Meals on Wheels and seniors’ homes.”