Nothing says summertime like the taste of a juicy mango picked fresh from the tree, and if you haven’t noticed, mango season is in full swing.
In North Side, Willie and Zelmalee Ebanks are absolutely swimming in mangoes. They told Cayman 27 they have more than 200 trees, and grow more than 60 varieties.
There’s the Mallika, the Scotty, the Willie, and the oh-so distinguished (and delicious) Madam Francis, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s organised chaos as boxes and boxes of sweet, juicy mangoes are loaded up and shipped off to market.
“That’s the first delivery for the day, and we are ready to load up for the second, third, fourth,” said Ms. Zelmalee, who told Cayman 27 it’s all hands on deck at the family business.
“We’ve done 3,000 pounds for the day, and we haven’t finished picking. We have four people in the field picking,” she explained. “That’s my grandson, he helps out with the picking, the loading, the whatever.”
A former educator with more than 30 years of experience, Ms. Zelmalee admitted retirement isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, especially in the height of mango season.
“You know, I get tired, and tired, and tired, so I re-re-re-retire,” she joked.
With more than 200 trees on the farm and 62 distinct varieties, Ms. Zelmalee said there’s a mango out there for everyone, but just a taste of her favourite, the Bombay, brings back sweet memories.
“It just brings back them college days memories for me, so I guess that’s why I like it,” she said, with a big smile.
While each individual mango has its own aroma and flavour characteristics, Ms. Zelmalee said all mangoes share one common bond.
“It has a little bump,” she said. “Every mango has a little bump. It might have it down here, it might have not over here, but usually it has it up by the stem.”
And the Cayman 27 team put its creative thinking powers to the test and came up with some exciting new mango varieties we’d like to see in the future.
How about the Kevin, the Reshma, the Mario, the Jordan, the Joey, or the sweetest of all the Janelle.