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Doing the Mango Tango

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Remember when you were in grade school and everyone wanted to know things like:

“What’s your favorite color?”

“What’s your favorite song?”

“What’s your favorite fruit?”

Well never, ever did I answer number 3 with “Mango!” In fact, growing up in Dallas, I can’t remember eating mangos or even seeing them in the grocery stores. Mangos were just not on my radar.

That completely changed when we arrived here on Vieques. We are up to our earlobes in this heavenly fruit and I think my mouth and hands are becoming permanently stained orange. John swears that his sweat smells “mango-ey.”


So here’s a few really cool things that I’ve learned that you may or may not know about this luscious fruit:

  • Being a mango rookie, I always thought that mangos were a tropical fruit grown in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Florida…places like that. Actually mangos came from India and Southeast Asia. References to them were made in ancient Hindu writing dating back to 4000 BC.

  • Because mango seeds are monstrous, it is thought that they are too large to be carried by sea or wind, so here’s how most historians believe they made it to the Americas:
    1. Persians traders carried the seeds from India to the Middle East.
    2. During the 16th century the Portuguese introduced mangos to Africa and Brazil.
    3. In the early 19th century traders brought them to Mexico.
    4. And finally, mangos made it to the US around 1860! So, that’s why George Washington had to settle for cherry pie, huh?

  • Mangos have traditionally been symbols of happiness and life.

  • Not only do mangos taste great, but they are good for you. They are packed with over 20 different vitamins and minerals, making them a SUPER FOOD. Each serving of mango is fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free. And as a bonus, one cup has only about 100 calories.

  • Mangos are distantly related to cashews and pistachios.

  • A mango tree can grow as tall as 100 feet and can have a canopy of up to 35 feet.

  • And, speaking of canopies, Buddha is said to have meditated under mango trees.



Now, here’s a few not so cool things we’ve learned as mango farmers:

  • Be very, very careful if you decide to prune a mango tree. Very careful!! The sap from some varieties, if it gets on your skin, can cause a reaction akin to poison ivy! We met a guy here on the island that was not so lucky with mango sap. Not a pretty sight.

  • Bees and wasps love mangos as much as we do. Normally, I’m a wasp and bee whisperer. Generally, they leave me alone. But Vieques bees and wasps evidently didn’t get the memo about that.

    One day I was helping John with mango collection and a bee showed me that she didn’t want to share. A stinging and throbbing shoulder helped me to understand that island flying critters are serious about their fruits.

  • Check your teeth after eating mangos. They are a stringy fruit and the orange fibers love to get stuck in your teeth. It’s not quite as unsightly as broccoli or spinach, but close.

  • The critters here on Vieques LOVE even rotten mangos. The putrid scent of a lot of rotten mangos may make us want to barf, but birds, wasps, iguanas, bees, ants, horses, and rats love it. We’ve learned (the hard way) to be efficient mango collectors.



When it comes to raking, we are not rookies. Back many moons ago, we owned a house with 63 huge oaks trees. One fall we raked 106 black garbage bags full of leaves. (yes, we counted) But that was only in the fall.

We’ve learned that mango trees drop their leaves all year long, even after the “season” is over.

Now, I’m afraid to prune because I’m highly allergic to poison ivy and I’m scared of the sap.

I’m also scared to pick mangos off the trees because I don’t want to experience a rerun of the bee guards showing me who is boss.

So John has assigned me to raking, because there is not much else, other than eating them, for me to do as a mango farmer.

Also, I’m kind of good at the raking thing.

I do it with the style and grace of a dancer…just me and my rake…doing the mango tango. Scrumptious!

Story Categories:

2017,House Sitting,Puerto Rico

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4 Responses

  1. Well your cousin loves mangos but buy them at the grocery is my thing. Send love, hugs and prayers to you and John as always.

    1. Thanks for the love, hugs and prayers Audrey! I’m hoping we have mango trees in Belize for the upcoming mango season. I see them on the food truck (more like a little grocery pickup truck), that stops by our place on Sunday afternoons. I think about buying some, but since having such an abundance it’s hard to pay for them. Since we are on the Mexico/Belize border, I bet they’re pretty cheap. Maybe this Sunday I’ll buy up the lot of them. Love you!

  2. YOU GUYS ROCK…I am getting off this adventure to do my morning mantra and breath work…

    to work on ME and be a light to my husband and my world…XO you three take care…

    1. Thanks for being such a loyal follower Cat! We’re glad you’re enjoying a peek into our crazy life style–crazy according to some, that is. I’m not sure where the 3rd came from, but we can clear that up in some private messaging. Peace and Love Amiga!

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