The ongoing mango show and banana festival will enlighten you on these popular fruits

A mango called Grape? Yes, and well as the bard said what's in a name? But if you are wondering about the fruity fusion of flavours in the Grape then check it out from the umpteen varieties available on show and sale at the ongoing Mango Show and Banana festival( April 29- May 2) at Marine Drive.

But if it is pure checking out of flavours of this king of fruits then you are in for a truly fruitful experience. The Ernakulam District Agri- Horticulture Society that has organized the exhibition for the first time is thrilled to bits at the response. With 135 varieties of mangoes on show and some on sale from five states: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, there is a flood of tales and varieties about this most loved fruit.

Roy Zacharias, Treasure of the Society , informs that the mango production this year is lower by 25 per cent and though the prices are high in the markets they are available at the exhibition at competitive prices.

And you can see crowds picking up baskets of the fruits. A stall that's drawing them like none other is the one which has put on sale carbide free mangoes. The proprietor Becker Palliparambil explains that it is ethylene based ripening system that they have used as against calcium carbide that is generally used. The latter he says is hazardous to health while ethylene ripening is ‘natural' and safe. In Kerala , he claims that nobody is using this method and even outside the state it is being used by very large companies. But does that make the price of these mangoes uneconomical. No, he says categorically and that the price of the fruit is controlled by market demand.

Mercy Philip who grows water lily and lotuses mainly at her 5 acre nursery has put on show 15 varieties of potted mango plants, but they are not for sale!. Vincent from his 2 acre farm near Nedumbassery has proudly displayed the varieties of fruits that he grows. He lists them all: mangosteen, jackfruit, sapota, guavas and mangoes of course. But his stall is drawing crowds for the huge, a one and a half kilo guavas that are hanging wholesomely on display. If there is a huge guava there is an equally big mango, Thalachanayam, on show. It is from a 33 year old tree as the placard states.

If there are such huge mangoes there are those little, ‘kutti' ones too with the most endearing names, as if of a beloved.

Ask the organizers about the names and the size and they tell you that these are from very, very old trees planted by none other than Tipu Sultan's gardeners. The reason for the size is the antiquity, contrary to the Thalachanayam, which is just 33 years old in comparison, and those endearing names: Firdous, Fazal, Khan Sahab pasand, Nargis, Nuhan, Noor…. And you can feel the fondness the grower had for the fruit.

Amidst all this lore and longing for the mango there are a host of familiar varieties: Neelam, Alphonso, Totapuri, Baganpalli, Mallika and what have we.

The show is heady for mango lovers and the Banana Festival that begins on April 29 adds on to this fruity mela.

Besides the fruits there are a host of colourful stalls, imparting a flea market feel where one can indulge is inexpensive and colourful shopping. No wonder the crowds are making a beeline to this sweet, fruity festival.

Keywords: foodfood festival

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