MangoMania

14 Jul

We just returned from MangoMania and I’m all mangoed out.

MangoMania is an annual festival thrown by the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce here in Cape Coral (why is it not in Pine Island? I don’t know. Maybe the mangoes are snooty and are all about celebrations just not outdoor ones with carnival foods and bounce houses.

“Yes, by all means, promote commerce and local farming just not in our back yard.”

I said to my sister this morning, “I don’t even think we have mangoes here” but I googled and I was wrong. So very, very, very, very wrong.

Pine Island alone has over a dozen types of mango. And lychee. LYCHEE! Who knew…

When we head to the local grocery store or even to the farmers market I rarely see anything grown closer than 50 miles and most of the grocery store produce is from Costa Rica.

I thought about this while walking around the MangoMania grounds (at the German-American social club). There were many craft vendors and a pretty fair amount of mango peddlers and purveyors of mango products. But it definitely seemed as though most of the mango folks were from out of town. I was kind of surprised. Prior to realizing this I bought a loaf of mango bread for breakfast tomorrow and I was talking to the guy working the booth. These folks, and their evil mangoey goodness were from the Miami area. All the way on the other coast. I feel cheap. I feel used. I feel like they should crown me Mango hussy of the year. I was so excited and blind when I was reading about MangoMania this morning and supporting local farmers and businesses. Now I feel like I need a shower.

As artists many of us try to “buy handmade” and buy locally when possible. In this world of mass production and sweatshops we are trying to make a difference and we are trying to keep our money where it is needed-to support folks like us. Now I’m thinking so locally that I feel bad about buying the mango bread from the guy from Miami and not from the local farmer. I want to apologize to that local farmer and his family.

I don’t always buy local but I am making a choice with every purchase I make these days- I’m trying my hardest to buy from real people. I am trying to buy from the source. Some times it’s not financially feasible. But then I am reminded of a fabulous business report written by my old boss way back when I was working in commercial production (tv commercials) – he put in his manifesto that we all need to think about NEED and WANT.

So that’s what I’m doing… I’m thinking a whole lot about need and want to help me stay local and stay smart. My thought process goes something like this:

1. Need or Want

2. Financial factors

3. Local or long distance

The way I look at it- if it’s something we need, that we have to afford, then I’m probably going to spend the couple of extra dollars (if necessary) to buy local. Why? Service. I’m a firm believer, after years in customer service and sales and trying to trim budgets, in that a purchasing experience is more than shoving money over a counter and claiming an item- it’s the service that comes with that item. I am big on online shopping these days as we are a one car family and I’m home with the little guy 24/7 for the most part. So I don’t always buy local- but I am making a huge effort to buy from the source. Service and quality are that much better.

Anyways- enough of my rant… I’ve got to go put away our MangoMania accoutrements.

And I have work to do (I’m working on 2 new pieces…I’ll share really soon! I promise!).

By the way- for those of you that know me and know how much I miss the Northeast these days (except I do love these little corny small town festivals) I am happy to report that the nice couple from Boston were back today (I met them at Oktoberfest) selling their ices and the guy shared with me some new secrets: there is a pizza place I had not uncovered on my own and the owners are from New Jersey and there is also an Italian market…So I shared my top secret good bagels location (those folks are from NY)… He said the pizza is not perfect but it’s the closest you can get to NY this far south…We’ll have to try it…They are going to do a Taste of the Northeast thing in the autumn with all local establishments that have their personal roots up north. I can’t wait. I’m going to turn into a pizza. Probably with pastrami and mustard on it.

Hugs all around,

B

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2 Responses to “MangoMania”

  1. nicole July 19, 2007 at 8:21 pm #

    So very awesome to hear you have local Lychee & Mango. Super, super yummy.

    Cheers,

    Nicole

  2. beclever July 22, 2007 at 11:12 pm #

    Yup! I had no idea!
    Just finished our last mango from the festival…
    So tasty.
    Can’t wait for our local farmer’s market to head back into town!
    b

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