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MangoMania! 2008

14 Jul

MangoMania!

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Ahhhh MangoMania 2008…
What can I say? There were mangoes.
Mangoes for sale…Treats incorporating mangoes…Mango preserves… T-shirts aimed at mango humor… Ahhhh yes.

We went. We wandered. We purchased some mangoes and a dwarf Meyer Lemon tree for the lanai (I have always longed for my own fruit tree… more on the new leafy addition to our home later)….

We did a ton of wandering around looking for the Mr. MangoHead competition which promised a mango decorating opportunity for the pee-wee set. Alas, nobody(not even the supposed Mr. MangoHead sponsors) had any clue where or what it was. But that is life in SW Florida…If information about a local event can be gleaned from the internet it is always a year out of date (minimum) or just completely inaccurate…

The only folks who were able to help were the kind librarians from the Pine Island branch…

And boyo got his first library card and is so excited to swipe it through the machine on his next visit…

Turns out we missed the competition entirely by wasting all the time looking for it. They had 3 prizes (great ones, according to one of the librarians) and nobody entered. Probably because nobody knew they were supposed to decorate their mango at home and bring it to enter it in the competition… Oh well. Maybe next year our strategy will be much improved.

Anyway- it was a nice morning out for us… We returned home after 2 hours dodging some of the pushier vendors (of various services and “event only exclusive offers” blech) with 6 mangoes, a meyer lemon tree, and we bought 3 jars of preserves but the gentleman packing them for us goofed and instead of a variety we have 2 jars of mango raspberry and 1 of mango strawberry (and none of the tropical ginger which sounded so freaking tasty)….

Next year, I hope they don’t have such a vendor free for all and they make better use of the German American Social Club’s sprawling grounds…It was a little suffocating and not as tropical fruit festival feeling as it was even last year…

Also, there was a rash of brutish boys terrorizing the little guys. These were kids that should have been taught manners at some point and probably denied entrance to the bounce houses, where they terrorized the younger kids and annoyed their parents.

Also, note to mangomania 2009 vendors: yes, water pistols are fun. It is however unwise to spray strangers with water pistols from your booth if they are not interacting with you at the time. It will not gain you business and you might just shoot the wrong person. People carry all sorts of electronic devices- from medical related things to shmancy iphones. I would not want to short out someone’s gadget or spook the wrong person in this firearm toting, quick tempered region of the world…. It is not refreshing. It is rude. Even the rudest of the brutish wild boys wouldn’t stoop to zapping strangers with water. Even they know better.

Sorry to come off as cranky, dear reader…But for the love of pete those two elements were *that* irritating…

MangoMania!

9 Jul

Woohoo! It’s time for MangoMania again!

Can’t wait to taste some locally grown tropical fruit and mango creations at this year’s festival celebrating that crazy cousin of poison ivy, The Mango.

Mangomania will be hitting Cape Coral, Florida this Saturday and it is being held at the German-American Social Club on Pine Island Road (between Chiquita and Veterans/Burnt Store Road… This year they are having a Mr. Mango Head contest for the kids, various vendors.  Last year I scored some awesome all natural spray for my old bones and muscles- called, very cleverly, Snake Oil (and it is a real treat for an aching back and sore muscles)…there were a few folks selling jewelry (some of it handmade, but usually not by the people selling it) and a soapmaker or two.  We came home with bags of mangoes grown on nearby Pine Island (which is wear the festival originated… The German American club does provide a slightly more central location with more amenities and space)… We also brought home jars of homemade (by some of the farmers and their crews) preserves, mango bread, and a few other treats…

Adults can get in at the gate for $6…Kids under 10 are admitted free.  We wound up spending around $50 total last year- including a couple of carnival game tickets, a light lunch for the 3 of us (the German -American club had their Potato Pancake hut and Weiner huts open, not sure if they will be doing that this year) and a beer for the hubby (the beirgarten was open), and two grocery bags chock full o’ homemade baked goods and locally grown fresh fruit…  There are plenty of places to sit and eat and take a load off…It does get hot though- definitely wear a durable sunscreen all over as the event is entirely outside.  There are port-o-potties available and possibly regular facilities inside the german club (not sure on that…I’ve been to a bunch of events but I have never been inside!)… Bring a lightweight, breathable hat for everyone.  If you go near dusk bug spray is a must.  I doubt they are allowing outside beverages (other than kid’s bottles in mom’s handy backpack…) so bring cash for tickets, food, and drinks- especially water to stay cool and hydrated.

Boyo is excited as he is a mango maniac from way back… The kid cannot resist Mango sorbet…

There is usually a fruit tree vendor as well…I’m hoping that they have some dwarf/container trees as I would love a miniature meyer lemon for our porch….We shall see…

Anyway, here’s an article from the news-press on the festivities…

We hope to see you there!

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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