Urban Harvest 2019: Organic, exotic food on a platter

Where to buy local Indian mangoes

Raghavendra Bhatt picking Badami mangoes at his Chiguru Farm  

Vanraj @ Sankalp Farms, Maharashtra

When Milind Manerikar, partner of Sankalp Farms, speaks about mangoes, you don’t get a string of adjectives, but the exact chemical composition of the fruit. "What works for the Alphonso is the perfect combination of sugar and acid. All the others are either too sweet or too acidic. But it’s better to promote these varieties in their regions, rather than foisting a certain variety pan-India," says Manerikar, whose farm formerly worked out of Vahangaon near Pune, and is now spread across 150 acres in Mandangad in the northernmost tip of Ratnagiri.

This season, a mix of varieties including Kesar, Alphonso and Piari (most commonly used for making aamras) are available at the farm. But it’s the round Vanraj that you must pick up. Weighing 500-600 grams, it has purple skin and brilliant yellow flesh, with a flavour profile that is between sweet and sour. Each fruit retails at about ₹50 a piece. sankalpfarms.com. 

Vanraj mangoes at the Sankalp Farm, Maharashtra

Vanraj mangoes at the Sankalp Farm, Maharashtra  

Badami @ Chiguru Farm, Karnataka

At his 25-acre Chiguru farm, Raghavendra Bhat has been harvesting Karnataka’s sweet, aromatic Badami mangoes for five years. He chose the fruit because it is a local variety suited to the soil condition, and has a good market value. A ready-to-eat Badami is identified by its skin — a mix of green, yellow and red.

Bhat planted the saplings 10 years ago, and now organises mango picking festivals (announced on the farm’s Facebook page). "It is a curated, day-long farm outing where participants pick the fruit too," he says. Badami retails for about ₹150 a kilo in the market, and costs more if it is organic. At the farm, you can get it for ₹125 per kg. Details: chigurufarm.com, 09845258575. 

Badami mangoes at the Chiguru farm

Badami mangoes at the Chiguru farm  

Malihabad Dussehri @ Uttar Pradesh

If you’ve tasted a Dussehri, a variety native to the mango belt of Malihabad, Uttar Pradesh, chances are you won’t look elsewhere. The highly-underrated oval-shaped fruit (it got its Geographical Indications tag in 2010) has an intoxicating aroma and an orange-yellow pulp.

Insram Ali, president, Mango Growers Association of India, speaks fondly of the fruit’s heritage — of the village named after the Dussehri, where there is a tree that’s at least 300 years old. "The size and taste of the fruit depends on the soil, and even if someone raises the Dussehri elsewhere, they won’t be able to replicate these," says Ali, who rues that people abroad have not made an attempt to appreciate the mango’s flavour profile.

Of the 20,000 hectares under mango cultivation in Malihabad, 90% is devoted to the Dussehri. Weighing between 300-500 grams, they retail for approximately ₹50 per kg. For details, call 9140087696.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 6:45:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/where-to-find-exotic-mango-varieties-this-season/article26956804.ece

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