February 28, 2008 – Mango Farm

The first stop this day was at a mango farm and packing plant.

Again, this was a large expanse of mangoes, several hundreds of acres.

Some mangoes hanging on the tree.

The perimeter of the orchard is lined with this wall of recycled plastic to protect the orchard from wind.

The mangoes that cannot be harvested by hand are harvested one at a time in this tool that has a snippers and bag to catch the cut mango.

The freshly cut mangoes extrude a milky liquid that is irritable to skin.  Workers turn the mangoes stem side down on metal grates for a half hour to let the liquid drain before further handling.

We were able to find some irregular mangoes that were not harvested for sampling.  Uniformity and consistency is very important for the export market.

At the loading dock are a couple of government inspectors looking for fruit infected with pests. Again, on the cutting board is the machete.

The workers dump to mangoes from the field crates into the waterway that leads to the plant.  You can see the crate in mid-air thrown from one worker to another.

The first hand sort separates the mangoes to be further processed with those going back out (on top conveyor belt) for other uses.

After the initial sort, the mangoes float through a fungicide bath.

An automated sorting track is the next step.  The trays tip at various locations based on the weight of the mangoes.  A number of conveyor belts are arranged perpendicular from this sorter for further packing and sorting.

Another treatment is to dump the mangoes in 105 degree water for 15-17 minutes for additional pest control.

A spray of wax is applied to the mangoes.

There is one final packing by size.  Notice the packers with the rolls of stickers that they apply to the fruit – those are the stickers that you find on fruit in the stores.

In the afternoon we visited a large fish farm where photos were not allowed.  We visited acres of ponds and toured the processing plants where my favorite new euphemism was the “relaxation chamber” where the tilapia first enter the plant.  They come in as wiggling fish and leave as frozen fillets.

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