Saturday, May 19, 2018

Farm Diary: The Mango Cultivars

Conventional wisdom says that Mango trees yield a big harvest every other season. I'm not sure what drives that behaviour, but since last summer was thin pickings, we were excited about the current season. Sure enough we had a bounty this time. The frequent rains this year also seem to have helped; the farm is green and fresh almost as it would look like in the early months of monsoon. With the trees still laden with the fruits I got a chance to inventory the various cultivars in our farm. The count is evenly split across the three main varieties.

1. Sindhura: This is the fruit that you are most likely to see in the juice centers across Bangalore. It tends to be smaller in size and the skin is fairly thin. One way to identify this cultivar is by the pinkish/reddish hue on the fruit before it ripens.
2. Raspuri: This is my favorite cultivar. Has a thick skin and is extremely juicy inside. It is pretty messy to eat, and some would say that's what is so much fun about this type.

3. Badami is the poor man's alphonso. The pulp is orangeish and has fewer fibres, so you don't have to floss at the end of a binge. Fetches the highest price in the local markets here.

While 90% of the trees in the farm belong to one of these dominant types there are some interesting oddball varieties.
4. Shiri: We have exactly one tree of this variety, that my caretaker calls Shiri but I can't seem to map it to any known cultivar, although it seems to resemble the Dasheri a little bit. The skin is thick, and the ripe fruit remains green on the outside. This type doesn't get any takers in the mandi, and so we end up taking most of them home. Thankfully, I love the taste so I have no complaints about the lack of demand in the market. 

5. Omelette: We have three or four trees of this variety. The picture doesn't convey a sense of proportion but this is a huge fruit, some individual fruits growing to as much as a kilogram in weight. They are used for making pickles. 

6. Naati: Finally, this one is a plebeian variety and goes unharvested every year. Looks like many of our trees are grafts, and you see this variety showing up on one section of some of the trees. 

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