Although the Dominican Republic grows over 200 varieties of mangoes, this super delicious tropical fruit has its origin in the dry zones of India and the SE subtropical woods of Asia. This fruit is produced and consumed since 4000 years in tropical and subtropical areas in the world (Galan 1999).
It is estimated that the fruit arrived in America around the XVII century via Brazil to Barbados and from there to the Dominican Republic. Mango is grown all over the country, but the region of Bani, in the province of Peravia, is the number one producer and has been baptized as the Mango Capital, becoming a touristic attraction, where every year the very much celebrated Mango Fair is held! It is a joyful reunion of mango lovers, producers, investors, exporters and many others who attend this fair every year.
According to the mangoes exportation data, 70% are Keitt type, 15 % Tommy Atkins and the remaining 15% includes all the other varieties! May is said to be the month of the mangoes although we have mangoes growing during the whole year with concentration from April to september! The most popular mango type is the mango “Banilejo”, which apparently has its origin in Bani!
Like our typical “mangu” made of mashed plantain, our mangoes is a must try when visiting the Dominican Republic.
During the popular revolution of April 1965 in the Dominican Republic, my mother and her family fled to the countryside to their property close to Bani and all around the house there were many trees full of ripe mangoes “Banilejos”. The children just sat under these trees to eat mangoes without any limit!! As you might know mangoes can become a laxative if consumed in big quantities and that happened to all these kids! Still in 1965 there was no electricity in the rural area and most of those houses had no toilets but a latrines, which was used by these kids on a non stop basis! When it was time to take a bath, it was a stroll to a nearby river!! Even though it was a difficult time, they remember it as a wonderful experience, where the mangoes were the center!
Mangoes are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper and Vitamin A and is one of the nutritionally rich fruit with unique flavor, fragrance, taste and thus promoting health benefits to humans.
In the Dominican Republic, fruits grown locally are everywhere, you have street vendors which are standing in different places in the cities and towns during the whole year with the typical fruits Dominicans love, such as bananas, mangoes, papaya, pineapples, water melons, oranges, but to our knowledge, mangoes are the number one. The Dominican street fruit vendors have been replaced by Haitian immigrants little by little to the point that you see now more Haitian vendors than Dominicans.
Since fruit shakes are very popular in the Dominican Republic, mangoes and milk shake is also among the favorite ones!
Dominican mangoes are exported to many countries, included United Kingdom and guess what, it came once to our ears, that prince Charles has a preference for our sweet, delicious mangoes!!!