In Baja California Sur, there is one thing besides the ocean that we all look forward to in summer – mangos! From July through August we celebrate this yellow and sweet fruit. Local stores and farmers markets offer different varieties of mango, at home we eat mango and restaurants compete to see who can create the most creative mango menu.
Capella Pedregal’s Executive Chef Marco Bustamante confessed that he is literally addicted to mango. Choosing the mango provider for the resort was therefore a very pleasant task for him. As we were sitting at the Don Manuel’s restaurant the other day (eating mango ice-cream!), Marco shared the story of the very farmer who grows the hotel’s mangos.
The farmer, Mr. Gilberto Seceño, is a passionate family man who has a love for life and mangos (I told you we in the Baja are crazy for this fruit!). He enjoys sitting on the porch of his ranch and farms in San Jose and Todos Santos, telling stories of the old days in Cabo. He is called “El Dormido” (The Sleepy One), because of his sleepy looking eyes and his laidback demeanor.
The farm’s land was given to Gilberto’s family 75 years ago by the government in an effort to develop the southern Baja. His family began farming and selling their produce to local residence, becoming a fixture in the community. Gilberto took over the farm in the 1970s.
Today, Señor El Dormido owns 3 hectares of farmland and 3 hectares of land for grazing cattle. His whole family works at the farm, producing and selling cows, corn, coconuts and mangos. The farm has over 500 mango trees in four varieties: mango manzanillo, criollo, petacon and oro. The mangos are handpicked only when they are at their peak. You should taste the difference between the mangos picked straight from the tree when ripe, and those that are picked green and ripened during the transport or while in the stores. Unbelievable! In fact, when asked how he likes to enjoy mangos, El Dormido responded “My favorite way to eat them is warm and right off the tree, which is a little bit harder these days as I have lost most of my teeth!”
The Seceño families have another favorite mango preparation: jam! Chef Marco shares this love and included his own mango jam on the menus at Capella Pedregal. Luckily I am able to share the recipe with you!
– 1kg of mangos (Marco recommends the manzanillo variety)
– 100g of sugar
– 1 vanilla bean
1) Peel and cut the mango into cubes.
2) Cook the mangos, sugar and vanilla bean over low heat until you get a chunky puree (about 1 hour).
3) Allow the puree to cool in glass jars. Then cover and store in the refrigerator. The jam can be used for up to 3 months.
Buen provecho and a happy mango season!