Tamil Nadu’s mango trees may not have yielded a good harvest this year, but they certainly are aflush with new life. In Bodinayakkanur town in Theni district, for instance, the trees have become sturdier, although only 10% to 15% of them have flowered, according to SM Vettrivel, a second-generation farmer who grows neelam, bangalura, and senthooram, among other varieties. “We had good rains this year and trees have saved up all the starch in the leaves. They look nice and fresh,” he says.
Thanks to this, the yield will be much better next year. Vettrivel explains that trees in places near the Western Ghats, such as Tenkasi, Udumalpet, and Pollachi are expected to flower in July and August, and around 150 days later, they will turn into fruit. “But these will not reach the ripe stage, and will rather be used as vegetable,” he adds. The good news is, we have a delicious season to look forward to next year. In the meanwhile, we have put together a list so it is easier for you to source the last mangoes of summer.
Gundu from Salem
For those of you craving for the real deal, farmer A Jayapal offers a range of mangoes from Salem on his website. Jayapal started out by selling mangoes in small shops in bus stands, and today, ships mangoes across the country. “The website was set up by my brother three years ago,” explains his daughter J Shyamala, who takes care of the online business. On sale are malgova, nadusaalai, Salem bangalora, alphonso, kudhadhath, in five-kilo boxes. “We source them from farmer associations in and around Salem, as well as from our own farms in Ammapettai and Karumandurai,” explains Shyamala, adding that they look for best farming practices.
Log on to salemmangoes.com. They ship across the country. Prices range from ₹500 to ₹750 for a box of five kilos.
Imam Pasand wins
“At reStore, we are seeing an increase in sales of mangoes during the lockdown. We sold close to 600 kilos of mangoes per week on an average,” says Kanthamani of reStore, chalking it up to families unable to travel to their native villages. The non-profit direct-from-farmer organic shop located at Kottivakkam, on ECR, Chennai, finds imam pasand to be the most in demand. “We source imam pasand and Banganapallifrom a farm in Auroville; malgova and alphonso from farmers in Tirunelveli,” she says. Mango farmers in Thaiyur and Kelambakkam, located on OMR, supply common varieties such assenthooram and panchavarnam. The fruits are sourced from the same organic farmers for the past 13 years, and Kanthamani says that this year they had to pay ₹10 to ₹20 more per kilo of fruits due to the hardships faced by the farmers during lockdown . Fresh stock of mangoes arrives at the store everyday.
Visit to the store by appointment only. Call 9840571842, 10 am to 6 pm. Prices per kilo: ₹200 for imam pasand, ₹150 for banganapalli and malgova, and ₹80 for senthooram and panchavarnam.
Farm to home
The 100-acre Cholayil Farm, located in Vengal village near Uttukottai near Chennai, had 40% less yield this year due to unfavourable climatic conditions during the flowering season. Their mangoes include Banganapalli, alphonso, rumani, bengaluraand malgova. “We practise traditional methods of agriculture and follow organic processes in our farm. And fresh harvest is sold directly to the consumers at our store,” says Lasakan Cholayil of Cholayil group, makers of Ayurvedic products.
Mangoes are available at Farm to Table Store, Anna Nagar East, from 9 am to 9 pm. Call 7550155005. Dunzo delivery across the city. Prices per kilo: ₹145 for alphonso and Banganapalli, ₹90 for neelam and ₹80 for rumani.
A few days before cyclone Nisarga hit the coast of Maharashtra, Farmvalli Organics sourced a huge consignment of Ratnagiri alphonso mangoes from Alibaug, Maharashtra. Co-founder Maruthu Pandi says that they sell these varieties of mangoes by the dozens, packed in a box, stuffed with hay and in semi-ripe condition. Ratnagiri alphonso mangoes are known for their colour, taste and aroma.
Each box costs ₹1,200. Call 18004195575. Home delivery in Chennai and Bengaluru.
Banganapalli on bikes
The pandemic has put a temporary stopper on Hanu Reddy’s Mango Tourism. Last summer, they held a mango festival in their Ottivakam farm, for people to meet farmers, walk among the trees, savour the fragrance in the air, and participate in community dining at their 156-feet long table. This year, however, they are focussing more on delivering organic Banganapalli mangoes, from their outlets at CIT Mylapore, Adyar, and Maduravoyal. Hanu Reddy has two farms, one in Chennai, and the other in Andhra, near Nellore. “We got imam pasand from the Andhra farm, but the yield was low this year, and it sold out in two days,” says Nirupama Reddy. “We deliver wherever Dunzo is available, and we are also on Zomato market now,” she says.
Available via Dunzo and Zomato Market. Call 9884020848. Priced at ₹150 per kilo.
“The Shandy grew because of our mangoes,” says Hari Sethuraman of Organic Shandy on Luz Church Road. Hari says that their mangoes are known for their flavour, apart from the sweetness. Over the years, they have been supplying varieties such as rumani, alphonso, kalapad, and imam pasand across the country. “Banganapalli rules right now,” he says, adding that the fruit is from their 60-acre farm in Punnamai village.
To order, call 7708612348. They also deliver through Dunzo. Priced at ₹145 per kilo.
The farmers’ secret
There are some varieties, that Vettrivel broadly describes as “naatu pazham”, meaning country variety, that only farmers and their families get to taste. “There are around 700 to 800 varieties, many of them informally named by the farmer who came across the trees in his land,” he explains, adding, “These are trees that come up from a seed someone threw away after eating the fruit.”
The mangoes that we know of, malgova, for instance, are a result of grafting. “Therefore, if you planted a malgova seed into the soil, it will not grow to become a tree that will yield the same variety,” explains Vettrivel. “Rather, it will become, what we call, naatu pazham.”
Mostly small, they are no bigger than a large lemon, and are fibrous. “We cannot slice them like we do the larger fruit,” says Srinivasan Jayapal, a farmer based in Salem. “Which is why they will not take off in a large way in the markets; it is easier to have these as a whole with the skin on.”
Leave a Reply