MANGOS’ first story
MANGOS’ first story
In 2005, importing Sri Lanka’s organic mango in Japan was the first project that started our company.
In the current Japanese market many mango products are appearing, but at that time, most Japanese did not know that the taste was of a mango fruit itself. Therefore, we were planning to import it into Japan, organic of course, but even mango that were sprayed with pesticides, it was impossible to import it due to the tough quarantine system in Japan.
Therefore, we sought to develop processed mango with the same taste as fruits. The idea was inspired immediately. We thought that the flesh cut in the squeezed juice had the same taste as raw fruit. Common fruits cans mix the pulp in syrup solutions, thus are significantly different in dental touch and taste than fruits. Therefore we thought that instead of syrup, if mixed with 100% of fruit juice, the taste would not change.
Along with that idea alone, we went to Sri Lanka. The reason for choosing Sri Lanka is because a friend has an eco-business there and told us about the Sri Lankans’ seriousness and feelings relating to eco-organic. Also, because it originated from India’s neighboring country, I was easily convinced that it would have plenty of mango’s.
I arrived in Sri Lanka, took a tourist taxi a friend prepared for me, then visited dozens of fruit factories from morning to night. However, I did not find a single factory which would commercialize for us the idea of pickled fruit juice. Then on the second day I went to a factory, and there were placed samples of pickled mango juice. I was surprised. When I told the creators that this was the same idea as the product we eventually planned, they had the same thought and prototyped it. Then the prototype was completed, ready to be commercialized any time. Of course it was organic pickled mango juice. I requested immediately to proceed with the commercialization, and left Sri Lanka.
After a few weeks, the sample arrived in Japan and we tasted it all together. The refreshing acidity was low but the taste was stronger than raw, and as the texture was also creamy, it was a taste preferred by the Japanese. We brought a sample to a supermarket and its adoption was decided. Although it got increasingly adopted, at the same time the severity of the distribution in Japan was being taught to us every day. Additive-free organic food’s taste is not stable, and it ferments in rare cases. There was also contamination by insects and foreign matter, thus its sale was stopped gradually at each store, and it disappeared from the market.
We somehow dismissed that day, determined the market for the business, opened a mango sweets shop, then made and sold mango pudding. However, that mango boom business was also stopped in five years.
In reality even now there are customers that continued to buy it from time to time, thus in order to follow the expectations of such customers, even if it is a little quantity we import it every year in Japan and sell it.
Looking for mango and other organic crops, 2005
Organic is hard to approach, and people who think that it is part of a health mania are many, but in reality organic is familiar and an ally to our body and environment.
When compared to mass production, the effort is steady and time-consuming, thus without even knowing the producers’ feeling, you would want to be side-by-side with them, but in reality, they make it with truly gentle thoughts.
MANGOS uses organic mango to make and sell mango pudding. This mango is using Sri Lanka’s mango fruit and juice carefully grown in small-scale organic farms. Among these are used a lot of mango carefully grown in a distant village about six hours from the capital Colombo. MAHO village’s only unmanned station is Potsun, cars are almost not driving there, it is a small village where most of the road is not paved. But, this MAHO village is amazing.
In fact, most of the residents of this MAHO village have organic fruit gardens and herb garden in their backyards. As backyards are small compared to large-scale plantations, correspondingly, they laboriously grow delicious mango.
To make delicious mango, first of all it starts from preparing the soil. Make compost from fallen leaves, such as pineapple, banana and coconuts, etc. Plant the seeds in the nutritious soil and wait one year.
The next important thing is water. For delicious mango, plenty of water is indispensable. In Indonesia more mango trees are planted in paddy fields. One year after planting the seeds, when the mango trees grow to a height of 1 meter, the tree’s base is covered with coconuts shell. Coconut fibers act as sponge, and store away the moisture, Moreover, so as the compost does not leak further with the water, a strong grass-rooted lemon is planted around it. By far, mango that requires a lot of moisture is given nutrients and water without decaying.
In addition the most important is sunlight. Sunlight is indispensable for mango with a thick taste. In japan and other countries, to avoid insects, the fruits are bagged, and grown in vinyl houses, while in Sri Lanka, sunlight is directly poured to the mango. Even if it may be eaten by birds, monkeys, squirrels or elephants, for a delicious mango, the sunlight is thought to be essential. 4 years after planting the seeds. Finally the fruits appear on the mango tree. In order to bear fruits, a further 3 years. Once the tree grows to a 5m height. It is a very long caring work. In the meantime, laboriously take care of it like a child pouring with affection.
Well, at MANGOS, someone went to the village, to talk about mango while drinking Ceylon tea. There is no silly talk. They asked “Are Japanese customers happy?”, and “How Japanese people are eating mango?”. I answered “Everyone said that it had a natural flavor”, and “I am turning it to pudding and juice”. He said, “well, next time can bring us some?. As we want the children to eat it” and the heartwarming conversation continued.
About mango, the terms of Japan’s quarantine system prohibits bringing raw mango. Therefore, making fruit juice in a dedicated organic processing factory. It must be processed so as not to impair the taste. At first, the mango pieces. The processing of ordinary mango pieces is marinated in syrup and then frozen. When the refrigeration melts the taste will drip. If marinated in syrup it loses the mango taste and texture. Thus at MANGOS, we use mango juice instead of syrup. Fruit juice and mango pieces are the same mango, the taste does not change. Substituting it for the preservative liquid of fruit juice is indeed a luxury. However, this is the most delicious preserving method.
The preserving method of the mango pieces in the juice. It’s probably a simple method, but really difficult. As there are bacteria in the fruit, the fermentation would begin within a week if not properly sterilized, then it becomes vinegar or liquor. Heat is used for the sterilization, but if the heat is put on it too much it turns black and the taste turns rough.
To come up with a moderate temperature and heating time, it took a long period of trial and error. At MANGOS, we went every year to a Sri Lanka workshop several times to do a sanitation inspection and technical training. It is important to communicate with people in the workshop. In Sri Lanka there is the word “Aparade”. The meaning in Japanese is “waste”. When thinking too much of “Aparade”, overripe and unripe mango get mixed in it. The maker’s thought is “to make eat delicious things in Japan”. By having a firm communication, we conveyed subtle ripe acceleration and the preferences of Japanese people. Aside, all MANGOS members can eat curry by hand. If you eat by hand, somehow you can soon be sociable.
Mango made carefully in Sri Lanka is processed into various items in Japan. Mango pudding too is one of them. The mango pieces that has been turned into juice, is placed per pot, and churned round with milk, fresh cream and gelatin etc. Then it is just put in a cup and solidified. Since the ingredients are alive, and so as not to impair the quality of the ingredients, it is made as simple as possible. Of course, not putting additives in it. It is simple but, since we use plenty of mango pieces, not passing through a filling machine, it is all done manually by hand.
After all organic is not fashionable nor mania but simply tenderness to people. Because we want you to eat deliciously, we want you to be glad, we want you to be healthy, and because we want to do good in this earth etc. Therefore, I think it can be made without sparing much effort.
Maho village people has own organic garden in front of houses. Most of these fruits are very rare in Japan