A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Peru to visit some Fair Trade Co-operatives and to learn about Mango, Banana and Avocado production. Compared to the ground crops and backyard fruit trees that I am familiar with, it was fascinating to see how things grow in a completely different climate and how sophisticated the agricultural practices are despite the limited infrastructure. Unlike North America, where huge tracts of contiguous land are owned by a single corporation, in the Piura region of Peru, it is more common for a farmer to own a small parcel of land – often less than a hectare altogether. While being extremely productive, an orchard of that size would never produce enough of anything to sell to an export market. Over the years, these small landowners have had two options. Sell to a broker or join forces with neighbouring farmers and amass a crop big enough to export themselves. This is what APROMALPI has accomplished. APROMALPI stands for: <strong>A</strong>sociación de <strong>PRO</strong>doctores de <strong>MA</strong>ngos del <strong>AL</strong>to <strong>PI</strong>ura. Formed in 1996, APROMALPI now includes 185 members, is fully Fair Trade certified and the time to enjoy their mangoes is NOW! In total, their land covers ~340 hectares with a couple of mango varieties. I visited Peru in the fall (their spring), and the mangoes were still very juvenile. Mangoes grow on a leafy tree with a cluster of blossoms. In order for the mangoes to reach a large enough size, immature mangoes must be thinned. The result is a tree with a developing mango on the end of a thin branch. Above is an example of what an immature mango looks like on the tree. [caption id="attachment_5817" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://blog.theorganicbox.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/P9220131.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-5817" src="/media/original_images/P9220131-300x225.jpg" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" width="300" height="225" /></a> Cluster of mango blossoms[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5819" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://blog.theorganicbox.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/P9220143.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-5819" src="/media/original_images/P9220143-300x225.jpg" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" width="300" height="225" /></a> Small remaining mango from the blossom cluster[/caption] Mangoes mature on the tree and are picked slightly underripe for shipping. Like bananas and avocados, they are susceptible to cold damage and ripen in the presence of ethylene. We store them in our tropical cooler and encourage you to ripen them like you would a banana. Place them in an enclosed space with an ethylene-releasing fruit such as a banana or an apple. You know a mango is ripe when it yields to a gentle squeeze and smells like a juicy mango. We love mangoes and are grateful to be able to offer them to you as a treat on these cold winter days. In 2014, Brody also visited the fair trade co-operatives in Peru and wrote about it in <a href="https://blog.theorganicbox.ca/your-fair-trade-mangoes/" target="_blank">this blog post</a>. He was there a bit later in the growing season, so his pictures of mangoes are much more mango-like than mine.