Thousands of mango lovers gathered in Miami from around the world for the 20th annual International Mango Festival, held this past weekend at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
The three-day event celebrated this diverse fruit through lectures, entertainment, interactive tastings, and the world's only auction of rare mangoes.
The mango festival is one of Fairchild's signature events. Each year, the garden spends weeks gearing up for the festival by organizing hundreds of employees and volunteers who spend countless hours picking the mangoes at the garden's Fairchild Farm, located in Homestead. In preparation for the festival, fruit is identified by type, sorted and boxed. Mangoes that ripen too early are gathered, diced, and frozen to make the tens of thousands of fruit smoothies that are sold each year to attendees looking for cool treat.
Not content to merely be a place of beauty and tranquility, Fairchild's
staff encourages locals to grow and cultivate their own mango trees.
Hundreds of baby mango trees, most of which are small enough to thrive
in cramped townhouses or condo patios, were offered for sale and "mango
medics" were on hand to offer advice on the proper care and feeding of
the trees, as well as to help diagnose and treat common ailments.
Dozens of varieties of mangoes were sold, straight from the branches of
Fairchild's own collection of nearly 600 species of trees.
Football fans -- this Tebow mango might make a healthy snacking alternative while watching the game.
Rare mangoes, like the Mabrouka from Africa and the Alphonso from India, went
on the auction block, as dozens of people paid upward of $100 for a half
dozen of the rare fruits. The auction was led by Fairchild's director
of horticulture, Richard Campbell, who provided stories for each mango
Film crews from Cooking Channel's Eat. St., were on hand to film
the festival and to showcase Cuban Cube food truck, which offered an
Asian pork bun flavored with mango salsa.
Fairchild's curator of tropical fruit, Noris Ledesma, explains the differences between mangoes to the Eat St. crew.
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Mango was the flavor of the day as local vendors sold mango chutney, mango preserves, mango pie, mango ice cream, and -- yes -- even mango wine and beer.