Where can I get really good mangoes from an online order?
May 27, 2020 11:25 AM   Subscribe

A friend has been helping me out with some nonsense, and I'd like to get him a gift. A different friend recently sent me apricots from Frog Hollow Farm in California, and they were frankly amazing. I would like to send my helpful friend mangoes because he loves them. I do not want cheap gift basket fruit. I want really, really good fruit, and just mangoes. Anyone have a source? They'd be shipping to New York.
posted by Alex Haist to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don't know if they have mangoes right now but I've had excellent results using Manhattan Fruitier, which is in NY.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:42 AM on May 27, 2020

Best answer: Chiming in because, while I cannot provide a source, I may have a lead: The mangoes you should look into are from Haiti. I've seen the name given as Francine, though I've seen other closely related names too (e.g. Francis). I've often seen them called simply "Haitian mangoes."

I buy mine from a produce vendor here in Montreal who deals in large part with restaurants but has now gone beyond that with the current weirdness. A friend in NYC has seen them available from a similar restaurant-supply vendor. (She saw them in boxes of 12 and demurred because that was "too many." I was puzzled.) I don't know whether you mean NY state or city, but that is the kind of place I would look for.

They are nothing to look at, but they are so, so good. This is their season.
posted by veggieboy at 11:57 AM on May 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might have some success trying one of the sellers here, although it does appear the pandemic has affected the global market.

Indian mangoes are really amazing, with a creaminess and sweetness I've not found in the kind of mangoes you get in the supermarket.
posted by essexjan at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Harry and David sell mangoes; I've never had them but their other stuff is very high quality.
posted by jquinby at 12:30 PM on May 27, 2020

Best answer: Mangoes are tricky. Indian mangoes were banned in the US until 2007, and still don't have wide distribution. The yellow Alphonso ones are the only ones I see locally. Most mangoes imported into the US from Mexico and South America are dipped in a hot water bath. If you can search for "undipped mangoes", they should be sweeter. I've seen the name Francique attached to Haitian mangoes, so you could also try searching for that.
posted by mcgsa at 1:05 PM on May 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Buckle up. This is more than you probably wanted to know about buying mangoes. It’s not terribly well organized because I am both so excited and also short on time, plus on phone so there are no links.

First, I would trust Harry and David mangoes. I also want you to know you will absolutely pay extra if you use them. They probably get them from a farm in Homestead, or Mexico, Haiti, or India. You can almost certainly order directly from a farm in south Florida.

The first named place that came to mind is Robert Is Here (a produce stand in Florida that I miss desperately) I know they ship jams, mustards, pickles. They might ship whole fruit. Super nice staff. Amazing produce quality. I want everyone to know this place exists, even if it doesn’t solve this specific problem.

Your most likely bet is probably a farm.

Varieties I would look for : Ataulfo,
Glenn, Haden, Kent, Keitt (sounds like Kit) Some of these go by many names. Keitt is a late season mango for sure, peaking in late August/sept. You can look up mango season lists (there are whole message boards about mangos) to get a better handle on what to ask for. Mango sweetness and texture, like most produce, is impacted by the weather, especially temperature and rain.

I would absolutely avoid the Tommy Atkins variety of mango. It is not good. Sad and stringy and rarely flavorful. If anyone tries to sell you this mango, hang up the phone.

If you can find a selection of mangoes from India or Pakistan look for chaunsa/chausa, Rahol, or Alphonso. But really, any mango from those two countries will be so so good. The US included mango imports in a nuclear treaty a few years back and I was so happy to be able to get them more easily. And yes, as others have said above, these aren’t often found in many places. Restaurant distributors in the city have started taking residential customer but often with high minimum order ($250!?!?). But if you can get them. Oh. Eat them over the sink.

Fairchild Garden in Miami has an extensive collection of mangoes and they might have someone who can talk or email you about local farms they trust. Otherwise, I would call a few of the folks in google results for “mango farm south Florida” and see who is shipping what varieties, when and how much. The Fairchild website also probably has information about mango seasons, when different varieties peak.

And then maybe drop me a memail so I can arrange an order as well?

We do get alphonsos and Ataulfos here in NYC at the fruit stands on the street. I think some people who don’t know mangoes avoid them because they look small and have no red on them. I think people expect a mango to be big and colorful? That’s ok, more for me! By the time the fruit stands get them they have to be eaten same day because the fruit stands buy as inexpensively as they can. Keitt’s and Kent’s tends to be the bigger round mangos that I love, but there are other good ones too.

(And while I am reminiscing about tropical fruit, I will plug Katie’s Going Bananas as a place to get banana plants. I have done so a few times. They are fantastic, the plants are big. They also usually have lychee plants. To my knowledge they do not ship fruit, but I would be so happy to learn that they do.)
posted by bilabial at 1:15 PM on May 27, 2020 [33 favorites]

Response by poster: I apologize for marking all of these as a best answer, but they ARE and I'm excited.
posted by Alex Haist at 2:03 PM on May 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It looks like Robert Is Here sells mangoes online, but they are "Florida red mangoes." What do we think of these?
posted by Alex Haist at 2:07 PM on May 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

That is not a name I am familiar with. Could possibly be a new mango, but maybe a Keitt or a Kent, and sadly could be a Tommy Atkins. My money is on Florida Red being a way to sell mangoes through the season, and possibly off season, without having to specify exactly which mango you’d be getting. Most people would not know the difference between the three. They would just think ‘sometimes I get mangoes and they’re good, sometimes they’re tough and not yummy...shrug.”

As much as I love Robert Is Here, I’d call Or email and ask which variety they are currently shipping and if they can’t give a more distinct name than Florida Red, I would pass.
posted by bilabial at 2:15 PM on May 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don’t know if it’s the same variety, but I was impressed with the mangoes I got at Robert Is Here and I’m very fussy about them (Philippines all the way!)
posted by brilliantine at 3:11 PM on May 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yes I agree, IME there's just two kinds of mango - the smaller green ones which turn golden yellow as they ripen, which I understand come from the Philippines (and maybe India now?) and the bigger red-green-yellow Tommy Atkins variety which come from Mexico. No idea about shippers to NY but thanks for the detail, bilabial!
posted by Rash at 3:19 PM on May 27, 2020

Melissa's Produce usually has a great selection of produce, especially Mangoes.

posted by cwarmy at 3:26 PM on May 27, 2020

Best answer: Tommy Atkins is a very different mango from a Kent or a Keitt though all three look remarkably similar.

Kent and Keitt are very good.

Tommy Atkins is a horror. I will possibly mutter this on my death bed.
posted by bilabial at 4:16 PM on May 27, 2020 [6 favorites]

I hear mangos from Pakistan are something special, but I can’t speak from experience.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:03 PM on May 27, 2020

Best answer: Indian chiming in here!

You absolutely 100% want Indian mangoes (and luckily for you, they're currently in season). I live in India so I can just walk to the nearest fruit stand, but if you call your local Indian grocery they should at least be able to get you a lead? Or, hell, the big Indian groceries in NYC should definitely have some idea.

As for how much better Indian mangoes are than your garden variety Latin American mangoes, even the ones in California which generally does have higher mango standards: I love mangoes and would live off them if I could, but during my two years in the States I did not touch fresh mangoes because compared to the Alphonso or the Banganapalli (my local variety) the American ones all tasted like sadness and disappointment.
posted by Tamanna at 10:49 PM on May 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Ah! For NYC, Tamanna's advice would tell me to have you call Dual (on first Ave) and Kalustyan's (Lexington, near 29th street), which are actually both spice shops, but I would trust them both to tell me who would deliver me good mangos at a fair price. It's possible that one of them even gets whole fruit in during season.

They might tell you Little India or New Foods of India, which are both in Manhattan. If you need delivery to another borough, specify that when you ask.
posted by bilabial at 7:41 AM on May 28, 2020

Response by poster: Further research has revealed the Florida Red Mangoes are a seedling of Kent. One forum user reports: "I bought a Florida red Mango from Robert is here about two weeks ago. He was telling me how great it was and was a seedling of Kent which he believes is the best mango around. It took over a week to ripen and was decent but not excellent. Pretty firm mango and pretty thick skin, pretty as well but taste was not superb" via the Tropical Fruit Forum.

This website has some mangoes not mentioned in the thread: Maha Chanok, Fairchild, Mallika, Carrie, Choc Anon, Braham Kai Meu, Po Pyu Klai, and Serendib 2. Anyone have intel?
posted by Alex Haist at 7:55 AM on May 28, 2020

Response by poster: Also (sorry, guys, I'm excited, I never knew there were so many mangoes), this website imports mangoes from India. Are they still good after a shipping like that? They have the variety that Tamanna mentioned, but I'm not sure how well they'd take international travel.
posted by Alex Haist at 8:17 AM on May 28, 2020

Response by poster: Current plan: Order from either The Mango Place or Ensey Tropical Fruit when they're into the season enough to do some shipping. Thank you, everyone.
posted by Alex Haist at 8:24 AM on May 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: (The friend is not in New York City, just in New York State, so we aren't going to get the nice in-city delivery).
posted by Alex Haist at 8:26 AM on May 28, 2020

Best answer: This website has some mangoes not mentioned in the thread: Maha Chanok, Fairchild, Mallika, Carrie, Choc Anon, Braham Kai Meu, Po Pyu Klai, and Serendib 2. Anyone have intel?

Just as an FYI for future readers (and maybe for you!): a bunch of the ones you listed are Thai varieties of mango. Thailand also has reallllllly good mangos and May-Julyish is mango season if you wanted to order some for your friend now. There's a lot of varieties that wouldn't normally be exported that might be available through that site.

Unfortunately, I don't remember which of the many Thai mangos I'd recommend in particular (they have different names in Thai). But they are very, very good - certainly better than Ataúlfos.
posted by librarylis at 11:20 AM on May 28, 2020

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