Mango season is here and with people stuck at home because of the lockdown, many are now buying their favourite variety of mangoes online. This gives consumers less chance of checking the mangoes as they did earlier. Alladi Mahadevan, who runs The Organic Farm, says that at a time like this, consumers should do a background check of the online vendor. “Only a few step out of the house now to buy fruits. They can smell the mangoes and buy accordingly. Most of the consumers depend on online vendors. If you are ordering mangoes from an organic farm, you have to make sure that the farm follows organic farming practices; or if it is an online shop, check whether the seller gets mangoes from an organic farmer. Not just mangoes, this is applicable to all fruits and vegetables. Some organic farms share pictures and videos of mangoes ripening on the tree itself. You can trust such ventures. As a consumer, he/she has the right to know where the fruits are coming from. There should be transparency,” says Mahadevan.
He advises not to buy mangoes in bulk, instead order minimal quantity. “If you are buying a certain variety of mango, first taste them and see. Mangoes that look clean and polished is carbide treated. Some farmers chemically treat the mangoes to aid artificial ripening and to avoid insects.”
The farmer suggests buying semi-ripened ones that have slight yellow and green tinge. “Buy semi-ripened ones and store them in hay or rice to ripen naturally at home. It may take 4 or 5 days but you can assure that there is no usage of artificial ripening agents. There is no trick involved; you need to have patience for doing this. Some people who don’t want to put in the effort buy ripe mangoes. Vendors capitalise this opportunity and sell chemically treated mangoes at a high price,” he adds.
Mahadevan sells Senthura and Banganapalli varieties from his farm. “We sell either 3 or 5 kgs of mangoes - we put them in cloth bags along with some hay so that the customers can ripe them at home. Ripening mangoes at home is a great knowledge activity for children. Every day, make them check the ripening process of the fruit. Children will also learn patience through such fun activities,” the farmer quips.
Maruthu Pandi, the co-founder of Farmvalli Organics, is excited to see this season’s mangoes at his farm. “Most of the mangoes available in the market are injected with calcium carbide. Sometimes, it is tough to differentiate between good and bad ones. Naturally ripened mangoes will have black dots and there will be a nice fragrance. You can also gently squeeze the fruit gently and see – if it is soft, the fruit will be good. In the Chennai market, we get native and imported mangoes. A few imported mangoes that are available here include Ratnagiri- Devgad Alphonso. It is grown in Maharashtra and is mainly exported to foreign countries. It is called Hapus in Maharashtra. Alphonso’s counterpart that is grown in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh is called Banganapalli. It is also the first mango to bag the coveted Geographical Indication tag (GI tag). Another variety of mango that grows in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and other parts of south India is Malgova. It is very juicy and has a sweet aroma. Mallika is another variant that is the result of hybridisation of Dasheri and Neelam. Imam Pasand mangoes are also available in Chennai. Considered as the King of Mangoes, this variety has a short season (May-June),” says Maruthu.