Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Great Mango Harvest of 2012

A little way down the road from me grows this tree.  It is a Mango Tree, and it towers over the neighborhood like a sentinel.

I was told about the fruit from this tree by someone who lived here for a while.  She had this dreamy look in her eyes and said that it was fruit unlike any other and that it would be a treat if I ever got a chance to have some.

She was right.  This fruit is beyond sweet, and to have a tree ripened mango from this tree is a privilege to be sure.

The other day when we walked past the tree, the new owner of the property was bending down and picking up a piece of fruit that had just fallen, muttering to himself disgustedly.

His words were "I've had quite enough fruit from this and every other mango tree.".

A conversation ensued and he insisted that he was not interested in having the fruit from this tree now or in the future and we were welcome to it.

That made my mango loving soul do backflips in sweet anticipation.

You see this particular tree also produces massive fruit.   Each Mango can be as large as two pounds.  Since the tree is in excess of 40 or 50 feet at the crown, that two pounds of sweetness could kill you if it hit you in the head.  Falling mangoes have broken windshields and left nasty dents in cars, so the trees should be placed with care, just like your head.

We went to the big box store and got a fruit picker which was a metal basket on a 20 foot telescoping pole and started having fun.   My being the tallest person within blocks, I realized that even with me, this wasn't going to get the mangoes from the top of the tree without some help.   This called for ingenuity.

A roll of Duct Tape also helped.

There was a "pole saw" with another 20 foot of telescopic length that we taped the fruit picker to giving us roughly 40 feet of reach.

This ended up being an "I Love Lucy" expedition.

40 feet of fiberglass pole with a metal basket on the end, wobbling in the stiff breezes off the ocean.   Reaching into the boughs toward the red and green goodness, we snatched the fruit.   First from the area over the carport, then over the yard, most of the fruit would be removed.

The world was a little safer and sweeter at the same time.

This work doesn't happen quickly.  Since there was 40 feet worth of pole to manhandle, traffic control had to happen.  We'd reach up into the tree, then start jockeying the pole over the little corner plot trying not to drop the fruit onto passing cars or the gathering passersby that collect anytime something different was happening around town.  Waving to the local police officers that drove by with amusement, we continued our work.

By the time we were done, there was at least 30 pounds of fruit ranging up to a pound and a half each.  After giving away some to the owner of the property who groaned but thanked us anyway, we've got a full table of ripening goodness.

Once all that fruit begins to get just a little soft to the touch, there will be a lot of enjoyment from it all.  I'll be watching for the lady who first told me how wonderful that fruit is.  There are a couple choice mangoes sitting on the table waiting for her.

Oddly enough this was not a good year for fruit.  Something in the weather was not quite right and we ended up with fewer fruit but larger ones.  This year must have been a "resting year" and that means next year it will be more productive. 

That will have us all dancing around while the fruit ripens.

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