Friday, August 19, 2016

Nicaragua's season of plenty

This is Mike...
One of the cooler aspects about visiting a different country is tasting produce that you may not have otherwise eaten. In Central America there is a very pronounced dry season from March through May. The dry season impacts grocery prices and even effects livestock with many succumbing to malnutrition and dehydration. In the more developed world we have irrigation to offset the real costs of drought. In Nicaragua, though, only the wealthier can afford to irrigate crops, leaving the majority to wander for grasses and water for their herds. The dry season is tough on all who live close to the land.
   As the wet season begins in mid-May the temperatures drop and with the rains comes an abundance of fruits and vegetables a couple months later. Mangoes were the first to ripen and by mid-June the city was awash with really cheap and super sweet mangoes. During peak mango season, prices dropped as low as 10 Cordobas (30 cents U.S) per dozen mangoes. However, it is worth mentioning that the mango season hit like a flood and was over in a flash. Though we are still able to get mangoes, they are not always available and no longer at those low prices. We had no idea that the mango season, would be for the most part done in about 5 weeks. The mangoes fed many while they were here. The monkeys and squirrels ruined many mangoes by taking a bite or two, then dropping the mangoes to fall where they may. Then the tapir, deer, cattle, and so on ate their fill of the fruit. As the mangoes filled the bellies of those big and small, some of the fruit started to ferment in the sun. As the mangoes laid seemingly abandoned to rot, then the butterflies arrived en-mass to show just how beautiful mango season can be. Clouds of every color one can dream, clouds of the most whimsical fluttering butterflies were all over the discarded mangoes. There it was, the life cycle of the mango ended in a spectacle of colorful butterflies drinking the juices with their tiny straw-like proboscis.
   As of mid-August, we are now in the peak of Mamon Chino or Rambutan season Given our experience with the short lived mango season we are loading up with a hundred Mamon Chinos at a time, while supplies last. They are selling for 1 Corboba each right now, which works out to be $3.32 for one hundred delicious fruit. For those of you lucky enough to be vacationing somewhere during the "Season" of a fruit, indulge in the goodness while it lasts. Nothing beats the sweetness of a naturally ripened fruit, eaten as it was intended, eaten during the season.

I am holding a rambutan to demonstrate their size. In the background are bananas, avocados, tomatoes and passion fruit.

A bountiful harvest by any measure.

Inside the rambutan is a sweet juicy white flesh around a single seed (bottom) which could be a choking hazard for toddlers.

We miss the peak of mango season and the abundant fruits.

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