I was recently asked if I could help out with a yard tour at Leo Manuels orchard and I said sure, not knowing whom was visiting. To my surprise, it was Cielo along with Maurice and Lon Kong, President of the Rare Fruit Council of Miami Florida.
It was wonderful chatting with everyone about mango varieties, rootstocks and various technologies such as approach grafting weak trees. I told Maurice he was my hero for bringing over the Po Pyu Kalai Mango from Myanmar(Burma), parent of the Lemon Zest and Orange Sherbet. Maurice is a wealth of knowledge and I can hear and feel the passion of a true fruit hunter/grower as he spoke. I live for moments like this when a group of people, worlds apart, are brought together by true passion and insatiable quest to find the next new or better fruit.
Not one to disappoint, Maurice pulled out three varieties of Mango from Myanmar. The smallest mango was called Black Mango and this fruit is meant to be eaten with its skin. The fruit was not very good but Maurice pointed out that it may be a good candidate to try out as a rootstock because it is Polyembryonic, highly prolific and it was discovered near an area of high clay.
Maurice mentioned that all three varieties are from Myanmar and all three are Polyembryonic. Of the three varieties sampled, only the Mandalay Burma stood out as an exceptional mango in terms of flavor. This mango was very sweet, I didn't have my refractometer but I would guess it's Brix to be around 20-22%. This mango has a base flavor of COC/Cac but with an added underlying complexity that had an umami or savory taste to it that could only be described as guava or even Durian. It was not stinky at all but the first thing my brain thought of was Durian and Guava as the underlying complexity.
I would hazard to say that non of these three varieties were in Prime condition as you can see in the picture but non the less, the Mandalay Burma was excellent eating, especially if you like COC/Cac.
The two beautiful ladies, Cielo and Lon were a pleasure to talk with and I could have spent days if not weeks chatting about backyard horticulture with the group but the Kongs were on a tight schedule so time was very limited.
Before we left Leos yard, Leo noticed that our hormone treatment of mango grafts, at least one of them was a success and I explained to Maurice about our experiments. Maurice had plenty of advice for us and I am elated to have met more friends from the tropical fruit growing community.