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Sunday’s Mango Melee moment

Wednesday, June 6, 2018
The sole mango vendor with a small variety on sale. PICTURE WESLEY GIBBINGS

Under a merciless Tacarigua sun, the ladies from Mary’s Creations were last Sunday conducting brisk business selling, among other things, mango khurma.

“Mary” is Mary Bristol of Barataria. And yes, she offered mango khurma. Crunchy and sweet and with what appears to be a faint touch of cinnamon, or was it ginger? Not quite “the real thing” but good enough to go in the heat, chased by a cold coconut water.

Foregoing the khurma left the customer with a choice, under Mary’s tent, that ranged from mango sponge cake, mango-banana bread, mango-pumpkin bread and mango cassava-pone.

Mary indeed came out with a bang at The Mango Melee hosted by the T&T Natural Artisans, in collaboration with the Tunapuna- Piarco Regional Corporation at the Eddie Hart Ground—a location now growing in popularity as a result of a now thriving open-air food court.

No, there was no melee, things were relatively quiet and what made up for a shortage of stalls, including the near absence of fresh fruit, was a variety of innovative, high-quality by-products including Just D’s jams, preserves and sauces.

Just D’s has been on the mango circuit for quite some time with a spicy, tangy kuchela and red mango also on offer. Dilean Smith-Richards is the mastermind behind the business and says that up to 90 per cent of the inputs for her products are sourced locally.

Rodco Home Essentials, known for its wide range of natural, fruitbased beauty products came armed with a line of rubs, soaps and creams including mango-avocado and mango-banana soaps and a mango watermelon lip balm that came in handy for the weather.

The Eddie Hart grounds are home-turf for Rodco, headed by managing director, Colleen Malwah- Aqui. She is also no newcomer to the mango circuit and says she has her eyes on export markets for her products.

Annette Francis from Maracas, St Joseph was also there with her red mangoes and deadly hot amchar.

She has been in business for just over ten years and says she prefers her small, manageable operation and market. Her products are not sold in shops and stores.

With just over a dozen stalls, this was not among the larger mango festivals. There was, up to midday, just one fresh fruit seller with about three varieties of mangoes that went fast.

The Melee organisers had issued advance warning. “In addition to the usual ‘peel and enjoy’ practice,” one promotional message said, “there are many added value products that emerge from different parts of the mango tree and fruit. This is what we wish to showcase to our citizens.”

In fact, the open-air market regulars just outside the perimeter of the Mango Melee displayed a wider selection of mangoes in greater quantity.

The usual fruit juice, roti, pholourie and bark and shark entrepreneurs were also out—the roti shed proudly declaring no shortage of curry mango over chicken, shrimp or veggie fare.

A worthwhile quick stop on a sunny Sunday at the start of the rainy, mango season.


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