Why Florida Is Ripe for Mango Mania

Only in South Florida would someone ask, “What’s your favorite mango?” and get a response. Recently, thousands of visitors attended the International Mango Festival in Coral Gables to sample mangoes, listen to lectures and buy trees.

WUSF’s food podcast, The Zest, takes us behind the scenes of the festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables for a conversation with Noris Ledesma, the curator of tropical fruit at Fairchild. The Colombian-born scientist explains why Florida is the epicenter of mango mania.

 

Ledesma explains the origins of the popular Haden mango, an accidental cross between the Turpentine mangoes brought to Florida by pirates in the 1700s, and the Malgova mango, which Dr. David Fairchild brought back from India in the early 1900s. She also tells us why it’s been a tough year for mangoes in south Florida this year.

 

For more food stories that you’ll hear only in Florida, check out TheZestPodcast.com. You can catch up on chef interviews and get recipes that use Florida citrus, like Florida Orange Grove Pie from the Junior League of Tampa’s Gasparilla Cookbook, the Orange You Glad It’s Summer bourbon cocktail from Tampa’s Epicurean Hotel and more.

 

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