In our backyard are an avocado tree, several coconut trees, two papaya trees, a grapefruit tree, and three mango trees. The largest mango tree is right outside my office window, where Rob has created a beautiful garden that is shaded by this tree.
We planted a tiny shoot of this tree right after we moved here 12 years ago. It’s a Hatcher mango tree, and around here, for people who know their mangos, Hatchers are the sweetest, most succulent, biggest and plumpest mangos. Slice a Hatcher in half, and the color is a visual feast, a gorgeous shade of gold. One of these mangos constitutes a meal. Click here for a list of mineral and vitamins that a mango contains. It’s impressive.
Last summer, in July, we started picking the crop off the Hatcher tree. We had so many mangos that we gave away a lot of them, ate several a day, then peeled, sliced, and froze the leftovers. Ever since, we’ve used the frozen mangos for smoothies. This year, there’s something off about the mangos – not in taste but in harvest time. That mango in the photo could probably have grown and ripened for a couple more weeks, but was blown off the tree during a thunderstorm. For this time of year, it’s way too huge.
I don’t know if it’s attributable to changes in climate, soil, intensity of sunlight, or something else, but this accelerated growth is not business as usual. I’m not complaining, but this has me wondering if nature is fine tuning herself in some way, compensating for changes in climate and for catastrophic events.
Today, for instance, I went shopping. At the fish counter, Sal, the gray-haired guy who really knows his fish, said they’d just gotten in some fantastic tuna for a good price and he was thinking of me and here I was. “Atlantic tuna,” he says. “From Costa Rica.”
“Nope. Wild. Just got an email this morning from headquarters that we’re no longer carrying any fish from the Pacific. It’s all infused with radiation from the Fukushima nuke disaster. So if you eat out and order tuna, ask where it’s from.”
Well, I know where my mangos come from. And my avocados. And the veggies Rob grows in the garden. So maybe it’s time to become a real vegetarian and eliminate even fish from my diet. I haven’t eaten beef or pork since 1992, when we listened to Diet for a New America as we drove across the Hopi reservation. In fact, I had my last hamburger right before we started listening to that tape.
After listening to that tape, Rob and I spent several years eating mostly vegetarian meals interspersed with occasional meals of fish. Then my dad moved in with us and asked if we could, please, have chicken and turkey once in a awhile. I don’t miss steak. I don’t miss pork. I didn’t miss chicken during those years we ate just fish. But I would miss tuna, I would miss salmon. Then again, radioactive fish don’t appeal to me in the least.
I wonder if I can survive on just mangos, papaya, grapefruit, avocados, and whatever we grow in the garden. Maybe toss in some sprouted bread. And peanuts, especially almonds. One year, we had a couple of nice cantaloupes, a small crop of cauliflower, and about 4 strawberries which the critters ate. Green peppers do well here, but can I grow potatoes? Radishes? Apples? Probably not. OK, so hit the green markets for those items. Or hey, how about a community garden? There’s a huge swathe of vacant land in our neighborhood that would be perfect for that.
I sense something new is underway here, all because of that big, beautiful mango and this troubling revelation about Pacific fish.