By Shannon Bullman
First published in the “Summer in Haiti Vol. 1′ 2015 digital edition
While tourists are familiar with Haiti for its architecture and pristine beaches, many may not realize that Haiti is also renowned for its mangoes. Summertime is mango season and with the unique varieties and delicious flavors, a trip dedicated to these beauties is well worth the journey.
Aside from their taste, mangoes are a fruit that everyone could use a little more of within their diet. According to nutritional and scientific studies, this fruit possess properties that help fight cancer, keep off excess weight, aid in alkalizing the body, clear up skin, control diabetes and helps with digestion. According to studies, one cup of mangoes holds vitamins C, A, B6 and also healthy percentages of copper, potassium and magnesium.
Haiti has many varieties of mangoes but the most well known and loved is the Francisque, also called Francis or Francine. This type is the primary variety shipped globally and although other countries have tried to grow them, they all have been largely unsuccessful. The flavor of the Francis mango can be described as spicy, sweet and rich with a juicy, soft and fibrous texture. They are bright yellow with green tones and can be gently squeezed to determine if they are ripe enough to eat.
“[Mango Fransisque] … is the primary type shipped globally and although other countries have tried to grow them, they all have been largely unsuccessful.”
The peak season for Haitian mangoes is from May until July and the Francis variety as well as many others can be found all over the country. During this time, street vendors can be found lining the road ways with these juicy fruits for sale. Most of them can be found in the central and northern regions of the country, especially in Leogane and Gros Moine. It is here that the soil is said to be ideal for the plant’s growth and the trees can be seen in abundance.
If you love mangoes and want to taste them from the source, head to Haiti during the summer season to eat your weight in these juicy and delicious fruits.
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