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Growing MANGO Tree From Seed - ONE YEAR Time Lapse

Boxlapse · Youtube · 489 HN points · 1 HN comments
HN Theater has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention Boxlapse's video "Growing MANGO Tree From Seed - ONE YEAR Time Lapse".
Youtube Summary
One year since i planted the mango seed, still 4-7 years left until it might bear fruit.

So next update video February 2023 and full mango seed to fruit video coming earliest February 2026 . Subscribe so you don't miss it :D . And who knows, maybe it will fruit earlier since its under 24/7 light.

You can see at around the 210 day mark when the bug problem started, its still a constant battle to keep them away.

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  • Ranked #14 this year (2022) · view

Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this video.
It took me a while to come across an actually-convincing example [1] of where 5x speed is useful. But the current top HN item [2] is stunning at 5x. Not to mention that it clocks in at a minuscule and almost entirely procrastination-guilt-free 35 seconds!



Feb 12, 2022 · 489 points, 215 comments · submitted by bookofjoe
For growing mango from seed, or really anything from seed, you cannot beat a small plastic container (like what cottage cheese, sour cream, or green yogurt might come in) filled halfway with coconut coir. It's absolutely the best medium for germinating seed. Fill halfway with coir and water once a week. Coconut coir keeps water evenly distributed and I've never had a seed or seedling mold over using it.

I personally use 2 lb greek yogurt (or soup, as in from Costco) containers because the extra height also lets me keep the seed in there longer and develop initial root structure. That's incredibly helpful for transferring to pots, and a little coconut coir in the soul doesn't hurt.

My experience is very different !

Coconut coir is a real pain and struggle to remove and separate from the roots when you need a transplant.

Likewise small plastic containers are way too small for growing trees especially from large and medium seeds like nuts or mangoes.

Ideally, you want to pick a really big one (at least 5 to 8 liters) with a preference for depth over width, to grant the tree more space to grow and not damage the roots. They are quite sensitive in the first year, and each transplant will slow the growth for 1 to 3 weeks.

Growth is driven by two things : environment (sun/water/temperature) and soil. The one you find in most gardening shops is fine, as long as it's not too heavy and doesn't contain peat (might be difficult for our North American friends). I switched to fine, light soil with mycorrhizae and wood fiber, with a greater success.

Fertilizer is completely optional in the first year, but if you add some, avoid putting it in contact with the roots.

Finally, trees grow stronger if they are kept without support under the assault of the rain, wind and sun. They are meant to resist and adapt to their environment, so you really don't need to add a prop to keep them straight.

This year, I'm testing different style of pruning. My intuition tells me that no-to-very-light pruning yields better development than the fast and heavy pruning you see in gardening shops.

PS: I've grown 30 trees from seeds on my small balcony.

sorry that you haven't had luck with the method I use, but glad you found a good one for your practice. I've been growing fruit trees in Florida successfully as I described for over 10 years and 200+ growths and grafts. (It's a great practically free hobby and make sustainable gifts) I've even sold several to the city and county. Different strokes for different folks.
I prefer heavy duty felt pots which have the advantage of "air pruning" the roots. Once you've seen the root system those develop you won't go back to anything plastic. Instead of just curling around the bottom of the container in search of the air holes at the bottom, the roots grow just to the pot walls and stop, because they get plenty of oxygen transferred through the felt so they don't continue on searching for it becoming root-bound - in all directions. One solid massive root ball. One brand name is "smart pots." They're reusable as well.

Edit: Hard to find a video that don't involve cannabis growing, but here's a decent one:

I bet the coir + felt pot would combine for some outstanding growth
A burlap sack would probably work in a similar manner, but not sure how long it would last.
I've found that if you don't transplant out of such containers very early, the root system is stunted. Instead, you can take two cardboard 1/2 gallon milk containers, cut the bottom off of one and stack them to make a tall tube pot. Fruit tree seedlings can survive in that kind of pot for 6 months to a year and then can be planted in the ground without disturbing the roots (you just dig the hole, cut the bottom of the bottom cardboard container and place in the hole, fill the hole with dirt, and pull the cardboard container off like a sleeve).
that's a great idea. The same cab probably be done with two plastic containers, with large holes in the bottom, cutting away the bottom for the roots. I like to reuse those containers whenever possible, especially since recycling in my area is pretty much ceremonial. I find that if you transplant out of the taller container by the time the shoots reach the lid, you're in good shape for the roots to take to a pot.
Peat moss is a good alternative as well and has most of the same properties you pointed out
from what I understand, it doesn't have the same anti-pathogen properties as coir.
Or just buy a cheap off the shelf seed raising mix. My vegetables germinate in under 24 hours in a quality seed raising mix, hard to imagine your hipster coconut crap could improve on that.
I use gravel.
Coconut coir is also known as coconut fibre; it’s the springy material you get from inside the shell when you husk a coconut. I had never heard the term before and had to look it up.

I wonder if this is the reason the GP has such luck with it. From the linked Wikipedia article:

> Trichoderma is a naturally occurring fungus in coco peat; it works in symbiosis with plant roots to protect them from pathogenic fungi such as Pythium. It is not present in sterilised coco peat[citation needed].

I really want a solar powered time lapse camera that takes a photo around noon every day, saves to SD card.

Would be great for plant time lapses.

I haven't been able to find anyone who's done this already. It seems like there are trail cams and similar that have all the parts, so this should be possible to manufacture for a price point of around $50, and I think it would be an amazing product: I bet every gardening enthusiast would want one.

Anyone know of a sku that already exists? I Google it a couple times a year, still haven't found it. Anyone want to get this made, maybe send me one as thanks, and you keep all the profits you reap? :-D. I really just want this to exist.

(Happy to 3d model prototype housings to help! But I don't know EE. Chris at mckoss dot com)

I wonder if there's any way to do crowdfunding for products that don't exist yet. I don't mean kickstarter, in that case there's someone who wants to make the thing already. I mean for things where there are a lot of people who want it to exist, and could pledge some cash to motivate someone to make the damn thing.

One I've been waiting for since 2008 is a general purpose epaper tablet / laptop, and I see its nonexistence lamented here at least once a year.

I think many useful product idea creators will not share their ideas because it would suck to see someone turning your idea into reality and potentially make money. And average people with no tech or creation skills come up with the worst ideas.
Potentially a DAO
>One I've been waiting for since 2008 is a general purpose epaper tablet

Although this might be not 100% what you want - you are aware that decent epaper Android devices e.g. from Onyx have been available for a few years now? Have a look e.g. at the BOOX Note Air2. Of course they are marketed as e-readers, and are quite pricey.

Bonus fun idea: I think if you used a synchronized array of about a dozen of these you could use photogrammetry to make an animated 3d model of plant growth, which I would love.
Not exactly what you’re asking for (at least price wise), but there are solar power adapters for trail cams:
Yep, I've seen solar trail cams, just none that have a setting for taking a picture at the same time each day.

I expect if you eliminated the need for taking video and motion detection, should be able to get away with smaller panel and battery. Most trail cams also have IR modes, don't need that, which would drop cost as well.

this should work as long as it supports charging while in use (hook up solar panel to usb and done):

Or roll your own: It's overkill, but lots of solar-powered battery-backed raspberry pi systems out there. If it only needs to run for a few minutes/day. You can undersize the solar if you can skip cloudy days when there's not much growth anyway.

Maybe an old laptop with webcam or some digital cameras with 'remote' triggers could fill the role.

An RTC chip with alarm function could send a power-on signal every day and at least a pi can self-shutoff once the job is complete.

"Not all RTC chips have alarm functions but a few that do are the DS3231 (Maxim Integrated), MCP79410 (Microchip) and ISL12026 (Intersil). Here, a DS3231M is used to construct a simple, but fully functional, RTC building block and, further, to construct an example RTC-based switch."

Raspberry Pi Zero with a camera module and case? Plus solar panel and battery, and maybe some waterproofing. Hmm, a RasPi would probably be too power-hungry...
I'd buy this!
Been there, done that. Terribly underestimated the challenge.

In 2013 I wanted to create a simple time-lapse camera: 3 intervals (every minute, hour or day - rotary switch), store on SD card, recharge via solar, weatherproof;

"Can't be that hard", I thought and started interviewing potential clients and because of the nice 3D renderings and eventual 3D prints I got back "So cool - I want one" and naiv as I was I registered a business and collected a few hundred pre-orders at $150. Even had a cheap startup booth at CES in the basement next to the washrooms one year.

When they say "Hardware is hard" they are sugar-coating it. I could rant for days about the things that happened over the 2 years that it took to ship the first camera. We underestimated everything: Optics for example and what role condensation plays when deployed outdoors for long periods of time, or the impact of temperature on batteries. Also, just having a "cool" product was not enough to launch a sustainable business. Without recurring revenue, customer support was a pain.

I was lucky that some of our early clients were enterprises who wanted to pay monthly fees for extra services, otherwise we would have gone bankrupt trying to make consumers happy.

Eventually I decided that for us "only a camera that generates MRR is a good camera" and stopped selling to consumers. But it sure makes me happy still seeing recently made videos on social media from cameras I assembled myself.

Anyway, times have changed, maybe someone wants to give it another shot, happy to share more of the experiences I had.

Be aware though, manufacturing electronics is even harder these days. I know because we still make cameras. They are a necessary evil to get the kind of data our customers in Agriculture and Construction need to operate.

I am Michael Schwanzer of Toronto based ZEITDICE INC. Happy to be contacted via LinkedIn or our website.

I eat mango (10 per year?), but I never opened the shell of the seed. I thought it was the seed.

Does anyone know why the leaves are initially so dark and then become lighter? Is that common in plants?

> why the leaves are initially so dark and then become lighter? Is that common?

Yes. Red pigments are a common defense against cold and radiation. They are masked later by the green pigments.

Yes, generally dark colors absorb more light, and young leaves do not have any chlorophyll (so not green)
>Does anyone know why the leaves are initially so dark and then become lighter? Is that common in plants?

From what I've seen it's common in at least a subset of plants, that fresh leaves have a very distinctive red-ish colour.

> Does anyone know why the leaves are initially so dark and then become lighter? Is that common in plants?

I’ve noticed the same thing in frangipani. I assume it has something to do with the same amount of chlorophyll being distributed over a greater area, but that’s just a guess.

Also note that the leaves don’t just get lighter as they grow: the older ones also start to become dark again as they die.

Here is a guess.

Some nutritients / elements are rare and plants need to manage them carefully. That also means that they need to protect themselves against animals feeding on them. For that, they develop antifeedants [0] for example. Maybe plants develop the structure of leaves and antifeedants first before eventually loading it with chlorophyll [1] for which e.g. magnesium is required (no idea if that counts as rare but it is certainly harder to acquire than hydrogen, oxygen or carbon.



I've grown avocados and it's a very similar process - the leaves of avocados also start dark and get lighter. Curiously, I had a fairly large inside plant that I set out during nice weather and it got "sunburned".
Sunburn is indeed the appropriate term. The plant is not used to the strong solar energy so it gets damaged. Most plants will do just fine if you gradually introduce them to more real sunlight.
> I eat mango (10 per year?), but I never opened the shell of the seed. I thought it was the seed.

The seed can be planted with the husk, but removing it speeds up the germination because the embryo can access light and water more easily.

I assume they evolved to have the inedible husk to prevent damage while being eaten and increase the distance from the original tree, effectively delaying germination. (If you can describe evolution as having an intention…)
Isn't there a movie about it, the incredible husk or something? Idk I'm not that into movies
The incredible hulk?
I liked the part where the husk turn green.
And bigger… you could say it grows…
Yes this is exactly it. Mangoes lost their megafaunal partners (giant sloths?) so they're evolutionary anachronisms

Relevant xkcd:

Giant sloths lived in South America, where they were the likely megafaunal partners of the avocado.

The megafaunal partner of the mango is probably the elephant, which is still extant in the native range of the mango.

Oh you're totally right. I forgot mangoes were from India. Thanks for the correction!
Many seeds need a dormancy period before germinating, and frequently a husk or germination-inhibiting coating (Tomatoes) surrounds the seed as a delay mechanism: the coating/husk has to rot before the seed gets contact with soil and water. For many it's way of ensuring that seeds don't germinate at the start of Winter. For others there's a (sometimes long!) maturation process that happens within the seed (Macadamias) before they're ready to sprout. Other times the husk is there to protect the seed while it goes through the gut of some animal (often birds) so that it gets transported well away from the parent plant.

Nature is pretty clever, imho.

Another example of a seed with long germination time is the coco de mer[1], coming in at 2 years. It also happens to be the largest seed of any plant.


On the other end of the spectrum there are many seeds with quick germination time but extremely long dormancy periods. Some of the biggest weeds in agriculture are plants whose seeds could last multiple decades in the soil until the right conditions show up

These plants usually evolve to serve a particular ecological niche. It's kinda like the soil's immune system. Exposing bare soil to direct sunlight is one of the most harmful things you can do to a soil ecosystem. So many plants evolved seeds that lay dormant until they're needed to come and protect the soil

Plants like dandelions are known as major weeds, but they only germinate in soils that are too compacted (e.g. a farmland with a history of plowing). These dandelions take over, decompact the soil, and then get "outcompeted" by other plants (usually perennials with longer lifespans).

I use scarequotes for competition because it's a good example of a natural system where "competition" is a lens of analyzing nature that could cause you to miss the bigger picture

Very cool, way better than JS frameworks comparations :)
Or super basic CSS tutorials somehow for unknown reasons get very popular here.
On a similar note, my friend made a 24 hour time-lapse video of the Prayer Plant (Red Maranta), collapsed into 90 seconds.

The leaves close up at daytime, but open up at night, through a process called Nyctinasty. It's amazing how motile plants can be.

These time lapse videos are an incredible tool to teach kids about plant growth. It was really hard for me at school to visualise plants as living beings and their "life" was always an abstract concept.

The channel has some more interesting videos. I wish someone did videos to demonstrate phototropism, hydrotropism etc. It would be much cooler to have those videos around, which could be used to explain such concepts to kids.

The latest BBC nature series Green Planet has lots of excellent time lapse videos of all kinds of plants, well worth a watch.

There are some clips available on youtube, e.g.

If one wants to make a time lapse video of this very cheap, you can do it with as little as a raspberry pi zero w ($10, if you can get one?), a 4GB to 8GB sized microsd card for raspbian, a $5 USB-A to microUSB adapter, and any old USB webcam supported by Linux.

When I did this the pi would acquire an image every N minutes, save it with a sequentially timestamped filename into a working directory. Then another system in my house would periodically rsync the contents of the pi's working directory to itself. From there, it's a one line ffmpeg command to turn the series of JPG or PNG files into a video at your choice of time interval/frame rate, resolution and codec.

I have almost exactly the same setup. I can recommend motion-project on the Pi for taking the pictures and MotionEye android app for real-time watching. Works fine as a security cam too.
For those interested in growing tropical & sub-tropical plants from seed - mangoes, avocados, citrus, papayas, etc. - Melvin Wei [0] has a great youtube channel. There is a certain hacker spirit to his approach, with lots of experimentation in getting these somewhat atypical houseplants to grow in pots.


From personal experience, the easiest way to sprout an avocado pit is to throw it in some moist dirt and put clear plastic over it to keep the moisture in.

They take about 30 to 45 days to sprout. And the success rate it about 75%. (though I've never been scientific about it, so my numbers may be off)

My setup is two 8qt plastic storage containers. One for dirt, and one to trap the moisture.

This is a demonstration of truly advanced level of technology. I, of lower tech level, appropriately tremble in awe.
You poor thing. If you were a Homo Sapiens, you will be made of even superior technology. Therefore I assume you are one of those flaccid AIs that Sapiens is so infatuated with these days. Sapiens should be properly going nuts about playing with the tech it is made of, instead of wasting time playing with mud...I mean, matrices.
Unfortunately, the makers of that wonderful technology neglected to leave a manual, process chart or even a blog post, so we have to recreate it from the mud our way.
our tech is so primitive compared to the ability and complexity of life. Out of a tiny part, a complex machine with the ability to grow, harvest energy and replicate comes into being. Astounding.
That's what I found incredible from these videos, specially the one in his channel that produce fruits (eggplants, peppers, etc...).

The amount of chemical synthesis (I know nothing about chemistry) from the raw materials of dirt and water and light into the crazy amount of nutrients are fibers and whatnot found in a plant is absolutely astonishing!

I would appreciate some Starship Troopers-like "do you want to know more?" link.
I've been growing plants for the last year and a half or so (covid y'know) and it's really enjoyable and fulfilling, I highly recommend it.

Among other things I've got five little macadamia trees, three Torrey pine trees, two carob trees that just sprouted, and a sequoiadendron giganteum seedling about an inch tall. (It's funny to me that the Giant Sequoia seeds are tiny, smaller than a grain of rice, yet the tree grows to be so huge.)

It's fun and fascinating to watch them sprout and grow.

(FWIW, I really like J.L. Hudson for seeds: They have all kinds of plants from all over the world, really good prices and quality, and I like their attitude.)

I find it incredibly frustrating.

Some plants will die right away so at least it’s a fast failure.

But others will be ok for quite a while, several months or even a year or two. And then they’ll start yellowing, losing leaves, whatever, and eventually die.

Even plants that are supposedly hardy, like ivy.

I absolutely hate growing plants, and it actually makes me angry to see them fail. Even though I love an interior with plants, I’m actually feeling better if I never tried to have the plant than if I did and it inevitably dies.

Luckily, I live in nature and can open the windows instead, my surroundings being a forest.

I'm not an expert but to me this suggests at least two possibilities:

1) Were you feeding them at all? Maybe they were just running out of nutrients.

2) Something environmental in your area, bad water or radon or something.

The yellowing leaves suggest you might be watering the plants too much. This seems to be among the more common issues with houseplants.
Is a very satisfying feeling to see the new leaves deploying.

The video show very well the continuous grow. Something interesting happened at the end, probably hormones added.

> new leaves deploying.

Atmospheric carbon capture visualized

When roots grow/ gather more food, the tree will grow and branch out. So that it can get sunlight from all directions. I have seen this even without adding hormones/ fertilizers. The effect is probably more dramatic due to time lapse.
People here complaining about good mangoes not being available in the US haven't been to CA. You can get a box of 14-15 alphonso or ataulfo mangoes for $10-12 at local indian and asian stores around late summer. These come in from Mexico and near the beginning of the season are still not yet ripe (on purpose so they don't spoil in the store). Wait a few days after purchasing them and then they become really sweet.

Yes, also when things are in season those fruits and vegetables taste better in your tropical/subtropical countries, but that's the problem with places like India, when things aren't in season it's difficult to get those items or they are really expensive and really bad quality. In the US (esp. in CA!) I can get decent quality fruits and vegetables almost year round and I can grow lots of things on my own, freeze them, and then enjoy them year round too. The open stall markets where the majority of Indians do their grocery shopping only have seasonal vegetables, there's 0 refrigeration. The chicken and fish areas are full of blood, it's very unhygienic and if you want beef or pork, good luck.

Also in India the concept of eating raw leafy green salads is completely foreign and due to lack of food hygiene there's no demand for eating raw lettuces. The blistering heat also doesn't help for growing kales, chards, and microgreens. Leafy vegetables must be cooked or flash boiled. Again, you can get microgreens at the supermarkets but it's more expensive than in the US and just like everyone else there I'm not going to eat raw leafy greens for fear of getting food poisoning. People in the US complaining about low quality food have no idea how good they have it, even with the few ecoli scares you have a few times of the year, you can be sure major stores pull the bad produce. Before I go to India and immediately after coming back I eat tons of salad loaded with avocados, various types of nuts/seeds, various types of berries, olives, and various other fruits and vegetables. I find myself craving these items a few days into my month long India trips. It's easy to eat and live a healthy lifestyle in the US, not so much in India.

> 14-15 alphonso or ataulfo mangoes

Alphonso and ataulfo are not the same thing, not even close except they are both mangoes.

Alphonso is a uniquely fragrant and flavorful variety from India which is very rare to find in the US but you should be able to find it canned in pulp form.

Ataulfo is an ordinary mango from Mexico that is available everywhere in CA, including in organic form at Costco.

correct! i did see alphonso mangos being sold at the local indian store once in 2019, $5/ea
I was born in the coastal region, called Kokan, of the state of Maharashtra in India. Various varieties of mangoes grow there(Alphanso/Haapoos mango variety is on of them). During my childhood one of the most exciting activity was to plant the seed of the I had eaten and then see it grow overtime.

I think seeing any sapling grow from a seed is mesmerising.

P.S: I don't know why the shell of the seed had to be removed as in the video. The sapling grows without removing the shell of the seed. This process looks like Cesarean of a mango seed :)

I've got one under a year old. It was fantastic to watch the red sprout (I got 2 sprouts, a twin tree from one seed) and the black leaves grow, the thing doubled in size daily for a couple of weeks. The black leaves double daily until they start to turn green.

I'm under a year in with this thing and I was wondering how it would start branching out, if leaves would become branches or what. Seeing the budding at the top at the end was pretty cool. Now I know what to expect.

Something is so beautiful about this video. Totally awe....
It is beautiful for sure. Knowing that long after we all pass, when society and technology is unimaginable, that this little seed will still know what to do with a little bit of water...

Yet being able to witness the passage of time outside of the scale of time provokes a mini existential crisis for me.

The Youtube channel says they will post another video when the first fruit is born in 2026. It’s kind of like watching babies growing up. You know that in five years, they will still be a baby, but 5 years to us adults could mean a new job, the death of someone, a completely different life philosophy.

This is interesting. Do mangoes grow true from seed? I have some apple trees grown from seed and they’re effectively ornamentals. I suppose I could ferment and distill the fruit, but I’m certainly not going to eat it.
I found a different video from a Mango and Avocado grower who says he typically grafts in a branch of a tree with good fruit behavior onto a newly sprouted mango plant. He says letting an ungrafted plant grow to maturity will produce a tree, but will probably not produce a good crop of fruit, due to the variability of DNA.

Made me wonder if that’s why industrial produce doesn’t taste as good as natural. Could removing genetic diversity in fruit cause mutations to creep in?

The motility of plants is fascinating. The growth patterns of the leaves, for example, are utterly mesmerizing. I have a thicket bean plant that raises and lowers its leaves in response to changes in light levels. The motion is too slow to see normally but with a time lapse video it becomes visible, and you can see that the plant "flaps" its leaves.

Time scaling (slower or faster) is almost like an additional sense, in a way similar to micro- and tele-scopes, eh?

Amazing video! I recently found some ginkgo seeds and have also been trying to make them grow. Some had naturally germinated, so I tried to replicate the conditions where I found those ones (covered with ~1cm of soil, in a shady spot, receiving some rain), but no luck as of now. Perhaps I should try soaking some in water in a closed container as shown in the video. (Assuming it is water, of course; a clear liquid could be nearly anything.)
Ginkgos are peculiar plants, with ovules and spermatozoids. I don't know if the term "seed" applies well. You need an (fertilized) egg to grow the plant.

I’m no botanist, but I believe cycads have spermatozoids too. All seed plants (including angiosperms) have ovules.
What water are you using tap water might be okay for larger plants but might have chemicals that would kill germinating seeds.
I’ve been using water from a hosepipe, so yes, tap water. However we have also been getting an unusual amount of rain recently, so that’s been watering the plants also.
If interested in plants/ trees, I highly recommend (not a pure science book) Hidden Life Of Trees
Also Richard Powers' 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Overstory." It's superb.
I thought it was quite good, if a little reflexively anti-urban. But it definitely makes trees seem super fascinating.
It’s amazing to think that on a societal wide level we refuse to ascribe consciousness to that which clearly shares all the traits of being alive and self-aware.

That, whatever it is, must be conscious and not just “on some level” as if humans have retained some special social status across species.

Aren't mangos like avocados, where the tasty fruit is grown from cloned grafts and not from seed?
Some varieties grow true to seed, others don't.
Polyembryonic mango varieties can be true to seed, whereas there are no polyembryonic avocados (so they only rarely produce decent fruit from seed -- grafting is much more important for avocados).
Can someone explain why the leaves started to die by the end of it?
According to the video description, the tree got a pest infestation around day 210. I assume that's what's responsible.
I wonder if it's coincidence or not, but I once grew a mango from seed in the US, kept indoors, and it did similarly - grew great for about a year (got to about 2 foot tall), then got sick and died. I wonder if there's something in the US that mango trees arn't used to dealing with?

Very interesting to watch grow though - each set of leaves starting out floppy and purple then stiffening up and turning green, just like the one in the video.

I just planted the whole mango pit as-is, without removing the inner seed, and it had no problem germinating.

Depleted soil leading to -> the margin of the leaves start drying -> so they add hormones or manure -> the plant suddenly experience a "multi branching" event at the end.

Mangos are sensible to mineral deficiencies.

I tried to "grow" a couple of mango trees in Switzerland on my balcony, but they all died within 1 or 2 years, I think I burnt one with too much fertilizer, another one due to the weather being too dry and one, I am not too sure but I suspected not enough mineral as it took almost 2 years, I hoped it would grow :(
Is just not an easy plant to grow in your climate.
I know, I just do it for fun and hope that one will survive (it would mean the tree adapt itself) for more than a year :o
Mostly, it is due to weather and the direction of sunlight (and due to pests, etc.). Also leaves at the top, those on the outside get more exposed to sunlight and the plant allocates these leaves more chlorophyll for synthesis (hence green). Comparatively, leaves on the inside do not get much sunlight and serve no purpose, so to say. So the plant/ tree sucks the chlorophyll back from these leaves. Now such leaves which do not take part in synthesis can expose the plant to too cold/ too hot weather due to their surfaces area. So the plant/tree sheds them. Of course too severe weather will impact all leaves so in winter etc trees are bare.

If interested, I highly recommend (not a pure science book) Hidden Life Of Trees

I did this same thing a while back. My tree is still growing today. I highly recommend doing this the next time you eat a fresh mango.
There's something fascinating about plants, creating living organic matter from just dirt, water and air. It's like alchemy!
How much light is needed to grow seeds like this, during the first year? Direct sunlight, or is ambient indoor lighting sufficient?
The perfect video for a quiet Saturday morning. Thank you.
That was great, thank you.
oddly satisfying to watch
I love mangoes.

Anyway testing multi line text reply for my upcoming HN app.

Please ignore.

Last line

I grew up in Egypt, my dad is from a town on the Suez Canal called Ismailia, famous for its mangoes. We would wait the whole year for mango season (August/September). As kids, our clothes would all get mango stains. Our parents would make us take our shirts off before we eat them to avoid that.

I moved to the US, and I haven't had a good mango here. When friends visit Egypt, I tell them to get mangoes (in season, around September), especially a variety known as Eweis. They get obsessed. I've never figured out why the US just doesn't have good mangoes, I'm guessing they're hard to grow locally or ship.

Ever since I ate mangos in India during mango season (I was there in May/June), I have not been able to enjoy a mango in the US. Especially this variety:

I feel like I should be able to smell it from across the room, and there should be no fibers. I have had really good mangos in Kenya/Zimbabwe/Zambia too though.

Go to Toronto during first week of May. Ask for Gujarati Indian grocery store. They should have Indian kesar.

There is this store owner who also owns farms in India. They grow mangoes just for Canada.

While you are there, try different mangos likes Desi, Langda, Hafus & Rajapuri.

Australian who lived in London for six years here. About once a year in London I'd buy a mango, craving that amazing smell and taste. Always disappointing.

Then one day my partner walked into the local Pakistani corner shop and stopped. She could SMELL mango. She asked the guy: have you got mangoes? Sure enough he did. She bought a box of four.

Soon as I got home from work that day, I opened the front door and immediately smelt it. "Have you found mangoes?"

Back in Australia, this year has been a very disappointing mango season. Very few of the good ones.

That's my favorite, And our family eats them in season every year. To get the real test of the kesar mangoes, you must get them when they are still green, and ripe them at home.
Do any of these varieties grow in the SF bay area, or is it too cold in the winter?
Too cold weather.
No, I do not think it is anywhere near hot/humid enough in CA for mangos. I have a family member that started a farm for them (not the Kesar variety) in South Florida that have tasted okay, so maybe FL is an option.
As a general rule, fruits and vegetables don’t taste good in the U.S, compared to countries like India. They last much longer here though.

I don’t know the reason, but I can speculate - too many chemicals probably? Every time I am in India, I pig out. Yet, I rarely put on weight. I eat way less (like 50% less) in the U.S, and put on weight easily unless I am super careful.

This is not to say all foods are awesome in India of course. But there is something not right about the quality of food here. Everything seems to be optimized for shelf life, profit, looks and taste, rather than nutrition.

A single mango in my town costs $2.79, it has zero smell and tastes like cardboard. But it doesn’t go bad even after ten days, on the kitchen counter (I mean, outside the refrigerator).

I'm glad i'm not the only person who noticed the weight gain aspect and i have similar stories. I would eat three full meals a day whenever I go to India but I rarely gain any weight. I can't imagine what sort of weight gain I would get if i eat three similar meals here in the U.S.

When it's mango season in India you could smell from nearby areas (with right wind conditions). The mangoes you get at grocery stores in US has no smell and oftentimes taste plain/lifeless.

The main difference is fruits and vegetables in the US are bred for storage and transport, and not for flavor.

This is starting to swing back, with people appreciating flavor, but this will require people to accept that there are seasons to fruits and vegetables, which is hard when you're used to year-round supply. But if you want a tomato in January or an apple in June, those just aren't going to taste as good.

For mangos the varieties that dominate in the US are the ones grown by the mexican and south american producers. They actively lobby to keep out other producer, and they can't just change what they grow overnight (nor does it benefit them since they already control the US market).

US food inspectors are required in places like India and Asia, but if enough inspectors aren't hired then you can't expect the exports to grow in a meaningful way. As you can imagine incumbent mango producers in the US don't want more inspectors in these countries. It's basically a cartel.

I get your point about seasonality, but most produce here don’t taste good any time of the year, even when they’re supposed to be in season.

I have heard the same feedback from others too, I am not the only one.

Someone told me the same chocolates taste better outside U.S, because corn syrup is used in the American version.

But my point is that the varieties planted are the ones that store well. So it won't matter what season you eat them in, they won't taste good.

If you are lucky you might live near a good farmer's market that has actual seasonal varieties that actually take good in their proper months, and can't be found in other months.

Our back yard is entirely planted with fruit trees. My wife considers our harvest far superior to what the stores have and they would probably be even better if she left them on the trees for a few more days. Most of them do not stand up to even local transport well at all, though.

(Unfortunately, she has to pick them a bit early if she wants to eat them at all. Left on the tree to their peak they would be lost to the birds.)

> The main difference is fruits and vegetables in the US are bred for storage and transport, and not for flavor.

And probably for sales/cosmetics. Eg most people would agree Red Delicious apples are far from being the tastiest, but they have a very appealing name and look great.

> The main difference is fruits and vegetables in the US are bred for storage and transport, and not for flavor.

I've heard this take a lot, but I really think it has a lot more to do with how we treat our soils. American agriculture is obsessed with sterile soils. But the MAJORITY of plants in the wild get the MAJORITY of their nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi. Something which is not present in sterilized soil.

They are quite fragile too. Not only are they killed by pesticides/fungicides, but even artificial fertilizers hurt them because plants rely on lack of phosphorus for them to start the signaling process to hook up with the fungi. Artificial phosphorus is much less bioavailable to plants, but its presence is enough to make them not start that complicated chemical dance

The mineral content of our vegetables has declined by over 90% since 1914.[0] I'd find it hard to believe this lack of nutrient doesn't also have a massive impact on flavor profiles


> But the MAJORITY of plants in the wild get the MAJORITY of their nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi. Something which is not present in sterilized soil.

Great comment, thanks. I think people forgot how to farm in 20th century. For example, my grandmother grew up on her parents’ farm, and managed it until the early 2000’s. She didn’t do the farming, she just told the guy who actually did the work what to plant. After grandma passed away my uncle took care of the leasing for a few years. Now Bill Gates probably owns what used to be Grandma’s farm.

At one point grandma started doing no-till to preserve the topsoil, but I think this might have been just spraying with roundup before planting corn and soybeans.

I have a National Geographic magazine, circa 1995, about the Frogs Leap winery [0]. This is an organic winery in California. The author talked about visiting a neighboring conventional vineyard, and how that soil was totally different than the soil at Frogs Leap.


There’s a really good podcast about why you can’t get middle eastern mangoes in the USA, and the resulting smuggling operations that have sprung up to serve this niche - “Underground Aams Trade”. Highly recommended.

Here is the RSS

Probably tropical weather is needed. In mango season (March-July), I feel blessed to be in India. Many varieties, my favorite being Alphonso:
We have Alphonso in Egypt, too! Though I prefer Eweis which is much sweeter.

I've heard most of the mango strains in Egypt originated in India and spread there during British rule.

In fact, we have Alphonso mangoes in the US on a seasonal basis. Add others have pointed out, they're likely not as good due to shipping constraints.
I run an agri commodity trading startup (mostly bananas) in India. A few mango exporters I know complain about US import rules for mangoes. Apparently by regulation mangoes have to be immersed in hot water for 20 minutes. This destroys taste.
Irradiation is going to be approved soon as an alternative if I understand correctly
Irradiation is also an approved approach already as per a few online sources [1] I checked. I wasn't aware of this earlier.


I don't know the specifics but I'm not surprised. The Old World has a lot of pests the New World doesn't. Things which may harbor a pest we do not have get strict scrutiny or complete non-admittance here.
First time I went below the equator and saw a local fruit stand I didn't recognize half the produce on sale. It took me a while to realize that not only does everything taste so much better, the same items that would easily fit in the palm of your hand when bought as exported would comfortably feed a family of four. So I just didn't recognize a lot of the stuff even if I knew them already.
Mango and 'below the equator' remind me of Seinfeld episode The Mango. :)
I have a longtime friend whose uncle is from Burkina Faso, who insists -- quite emphatically, and with a lot of hand gestures -- that mangoes are "The King of Fruits".

Someday, I hope to taste a real mango.

I grew up without mangoes but now I live in Thailand and have fallen hopelessly, permanently in love with them.

They are available all year, but varietals and prices vary wildly when it's not "season."

There are also great mangoes in Spain and the Canary Islands, but they're very different and (I hate to say it!) not as loved by the locals as they should be.

I have yet to encounter a decent mango in the US, but it's only been about a year since I started looking seriously, so maybe I'm just not clued in. Maybe Florida?

Food in the United States is generally very bland.

When I visited Greece, the food was so much better than anything else I've ever tasted. It's not one problem in the US, it's every level of our supply chain is geared towards mass market tasteless junk.

Going out of my way to eat as much junk food as possible, I actually noticed I lost a bit of weight from the two weeks or so I spent in Europe.

I'm hoping to live outside the United States for at least a few months to see if this was a fluke.

I live in the very un-sunny Pacific Northwest. I rarely see mangos, though I eat a lot of dried mango as snacks. I was introduced by my Asian-American partner who grew up eating it via her parents.

Right now I am traveling in Mexico and craving fresh fruit, especially mango, everyday. So fresh, so refreshing, and so bright. It feels like vacation in your hand (or glass).

Some American perspective for you.

Go to your local Indian store. If you’re on the east side there are tons of them now.
Go to your local Indian store in April/May. That’s mango season in India. Get yourself “Alphanso” or “Kesar” variety of mango.

Thank me when you and your family enjoy it. Good luck! (You’ll need it. People will fight for those mangoes in the US)

In South India, our parents would make us take our shirts off before we eat mangoes to avoid getting stains as well. I was stuck in India due to the pandemic and got so lucky to be stuck during the mango season. Bliss!
Some details for why in the discussion thread here:
I remember sitting in a carabao mango tree in the Philippines and eating them until I got sick...

Sadly, these days in Melbourne the majority of mangoes sold at supermarkets and fruit shops are Calypso mangoes, which are powdery, not as sweet, and not as juicy. I find this weird though given that 80% of mangoes produced in Australia are Kensington mangoes and yet are harder to find :(

The Tommy variety commonly found in the U.S. is quite bad - fibrous and sour. There are two varieties in the U.S. imported from Mexico and Peru: Kent and Hayden which are quite good. If you want to increase your carbon footprint you can get mangoes flowing in by air from India in the summer - ask your local Indian store.
One of the best places in the world for high quality mangoes is the island of Guimaras in the Philippines. They have a mangoe festival every May. They are considered to be the sweetest world-class mangoes, but I don't think any of them make it to the US because they're difficult to ship.
> I moved to the US, and I haven't had a good mango here.

I'm used to the chaunsa variety, but I've found that alphonso mangos are a good substitute and are not too difficult to find in the US. I don't know how those varieties compare to the ones commonly found in Egypt.

A billion Indian gasps can be heard. Alphonso is the king of mangoes which is the king of fruits. It’s no substitute!
Same with plums. I don’t even know why they sell them in the us. It’s like eating a ball of water. Think of the flavor of an ice slushie that’s just the ice.

I gave them plenty of chances, in every corner of the country, in every season I could find them. Always terrible.

I was shocked by Melon in the US. I’ve been to NYC, Dallas, SF, everywhere the melons have no taste whatsoever. The nice orange colour is there, but there’s little sweetness and absolutely none of the musk/nutmeg
> It’s like eating a ball of water.

We are talking about different fruits here: Prunus domestica, The Common or European plum, and Prunus salicina, the Japanese plum are, by far, the most cultured.

European plums are sweet, acidic, fleshy and firm, with a rich taste.

Japanese plums are sweet, acidic, have a less complex taste and are soft and --watery-- by nature.

The best Japanese plums are decent fruits with an useful trait. Matures earlier, so if you buy plums in June are most probably Japanese plums. You will have a sweet-acidic ball of water all the times.

Not much unlike cherries that mature at the same time, everybody loves and are basically sugar and water. The good part is that you can have plums off-season. They aren't the best, but is the best plum that you can have in May-June; and is the only that you can culture in warm areas. Their season extends to July and maybe August.

European plums --require-- cold. Without a minimum amount of frost hours in winter will not bloom. A few mature as early as June or as late as October, but the common season ranges from mid July to mid Sept. Those fruits had much more time and sun to develop their flavor and are more diverse and different in nature, with several subgroups. Some are mostly acidic and some store a lot of sugar. Some have a very nice trait, a 'clinging seed' (can be detached cleanly from the edible part). Unlike Japanese, they can be dehydrated and stored as prunes for many months. In sum, a much more versatile fruit.

And there are the new pluots an plumcots also. Hybrids from plum and apricot that taste like very good european plums.

So you need to educate yourself in what to expect, or ask in your grocery. There are lots of different fruits in the Prunus genus.

I don’t know how to tell you which one is which. But I compare them visually and I know two.

The one with red flesh, and the one with yellow flesh. (Could be the same one at different points in its life)

My baseline is the plums I ate growing up in Argentina.

The red ones are full of flavor, especially when ripe. The softer they get the juicer and sweeter they get. These are bigger in size.

The yellow ones are more acidic, but get sweeter as they ripen. Also good. Smaller in size, I can fit a whole one in my mouth. I find the same red/yellow variants in the US. But without the flavor. They are also flavorless no matter what stage you eat them at. Ripe, not ripe, all the same: water. The yellow ones are just bleh. Acidic without the good side.

I gave them plenty of chances at different times of the year and in different locations. The best ones I had were in upstate NY in September, but still about 7/10ths of the flavor of the ones in South America.

Your description fits well with a 'Golden Japan' (or 'Sungold') and a 'Methley'. Both are standard quality Japanese. Probably picked too early if they lack sugar (or cultured in an cloudy place, or stored in a fridge for too long...). The problem with spring fruits is that they need a long spring to be really good.
Have you visited Miami in season? I avoided them sue to allergies in the family but we had a few mango trees in our yard which would produce mangos so large they would fall off the tree and burst when they hit the ground.
Here is a video of a guy growing a variety of them in South Florida:

Bet they ar least taste better than super market stuff. However, I guess it is no business if you could sell them two months a year.

I grew up close to you and have found the same thing about strawberries.
Hey, wait. Egypt is just around the corner from Europe.

Why don't we get good mangos? The only good ones cost around 7 EUR per fruit and are flown in from the tropics.

Lack of demand and plenty of acceptable replacements. Tropical fruit has a distinctive acid-sweet flavor that not everybody likes in large amounts. I would pick one avocado or a good apple or pear over a mango all the times. I would choose a Cherimola over a Mango all the times. Is a cultural thing I suppose.
Avocados in Gran Canaria are always awesome.

Hard ones soft ones they are just great.

In Germany? I still like them so much to risk buying them but it's a depressing gamble :-(

The quality of the mangos in Pakistan is also excellent, and by my subjective opinion 3 times better than what you can get in the USA.
I’ve never had an Egyptian mango so I can’t compare but mangoes grow quite well in Hawaii and taste great to me.
Come to South Florida. The variety of delicious tropical fruits is dizzying.
A lot of tropical fruit is uninteresting in the USA: bananas, pineapple, mangoes etc have little flavor and typically one variety is available at most. I sometimes have 50 year old memories in dreams of eating fresh fruit and they are so different in form and flavor I wonder if they are hallucinations.

But as you point out, they require a climate unavailable on the continent so have to be harvested unripe and transported a long distance. I should be amazed they exist at all.

This supply chain aspect operates both ways: pineapples are grown in Hawaii and shipped to the mainland; as a result the only pineapples I’ve ever eaten there are the big flavorless ones sold all around the country. Hopefully the small flavor-packed ones are still grown locally and just provided to locals.

It’s not just tropical foods either. Everything from tomatoes, melons, and grains to chickens and turkeys have been selected and modified for the needs of the supply chain. Although flavor, texture, and, I understand even nutrition has suffered, the net result is that there is a lot less hunger, so I have to consider it a net positive.

My hope is that widespread automation and cheap clean energy will allow more local production and make “small batch” varietals cheaper. And in such a world, instead of indiscriminately pouring herbicides and pesticides to protect the productive crops' robot labor can pluck the weeds and bugs individually from the crops which should improve the quality of the result.

There's a tasty fruit native to the midwest US called pawpaw (aka Indiana banana) that's like a mix between a banana and a mango:

Kind of reminds me of the atemoya Saw it for the first time visiting South America, and it reminded me of a mix between a banana and something citrus. One of the best fruits I’ve ever tasted.
Paw Paw and Atemoya are in the same family as the Cherimoya. All share a rich mix of tropical flavors in a soft mousse texture.

Not to be eaten in very big amounts in any case by their Annonacins (linked with Parkinson disease)

This is what looking at that fruit's flesh reminds me of. In the Caribbean it's called Sugar Apple. There is a tree outside my bedroom window at my parents house. As a teen during the fruit's season I would get tired of the Carib Grackles singing up a storm(if you could even call that cacophony singing) first thing in the morning eating the ripened fruit.

There is also similar one that we call Custard Apple. Different islands may have different names for these fruits.

As a whole, food quality is the us is not great. Specially fresh produce. The lack of affordable farmer market is my take on it. And I don’t mean fancy farmer market for bourgeois bohème type.

Where I grew up poor folks go to the market because it’s cheaper than a supermarket.

> Where I grew up poor folks go to the market because it’s cheaper than a supermarket.

It is very difficult, in fact almost impossible, for individual farmers to beat supermarket prices any more, largely thanks to vertical integration within agriculture and food processing.

This means that by and large, the point of farmers markets now has to be mostly about what you declaim: "bourgeois bohème type". If you don't have much money to spend on food, you won't be buying it directly from farmers anymore. That's sad, and seems weirdly wrong, but that's one of the paradoxes of scale in an industrialized, fossil-fuel enhanced agricultural system.

I’ve wondered a lot about that as well and I think this is not only the product of picking unripe fruits so that they can be harvested sooner and not go bad in transit, but also because of the hybridization of crops.

There are companies working very hard at developing new variants of fruits and vegetables that grow faster, are less susceptible to pests, don’t get damaged as much in transit, look like what consumers expect them to look like (no matter what the reality is), and smell good. Unfortunately, taste is never there. For instance have you ever noticed how hard tomatoes skin is at the supermarket vs the ones you grow yourself or even the “heirloom” variety? Tougher skin is not very pleasant but they survive shipping better.

This is my hypothesis why fruits and vegs used to taste so much better. It’s gotten worse over time with each generation of hybrids.

Yup--what you buy in the store is selected first for it's ability to survive transport. If it doesn't pass that test you're not going to see it no matter how tasty.

I'm thinking back almost 50 years ago, the Kilimanjaro base camp. Our group (traveling Johannesburg to London overland, Kilimanjaro was simply a stop along the way) bought an entire stalk of bananas. It sat there for some days as we ate the tiny but oh-so-tasty bananas. It wasn't finished when it was time to head out. When we stopped for lunch it was thrown away as it was an inedible mess. Admittedly, it had simply been sitting on a seat in a truck and the roads were bad, but bananas are pretty hard to protect. (And anyone trying to ship them out of there would have had to use the same roads.)

I used to like bananas, but after that experience grocery store bananas hold little interest for me.

Not really even a hypothesis.

Farmers select for traits that increase profit. Since most markets don't let customers actually taste the product, they aren't choosing to buy it on that quality, and no one in the commercial space is trying to optimize it.

Instead customers are buying fruit that LOOKS good - big, bright, colorful, blemish-free (survives transport without damage).

So farmers plant fruits that will look good, survive transport, and have large yields. Unfortunately optimizing those qualities tends to get you terribly bland tasting fruit.

Ironically - pre-industrial revolution, when most fruits were grown and consumed locally, it was the opposite - people tended to select for fruits that were good tasting.

I learned that baby carrots were not actually "baby" (small carrots) when I was I my 20s, after consuming them for years.

Baby carrots are carved from disfigured (but otherwise edible) carrots, because otherwise most people won't buy disfigured carrots.

Baby carrots are a real thing. The taste is distinctive, and you couldn't replicate the stalks or skin texture by cutting up larger carrots. It's rather unfortunate if they're allowed sell pre-cut carrot chunks as baby carrots where you live!
Carved is probably not a good way to express it. Cut from forked carrots more probably so there is not need to replicate the skin or size. You have it already.

Real baby carrots are very nice, but tender roots from forked carrots (that would be otherwise discarded when are perfectly ok to eat), is a tradeoff solution and decent replacement

I sometimes feel, our whole economy is optimized for this: mass produced things, that look good, but seldom are good.
Wait, are you talking about cars, fruit, furniture, or web sites?
Sometimes even about whole humans. With great make-up.
> I should be amazed they exist at all.

Exactly this. Go back a century and the idea of eating exotic fruits like these was the only available to the wealthiest.

It's a shame in a way that bananas and the like have become ubiquitous, to the detriment of fruits which were locally available.

>Go back a century and the idea of eating exotic fruits like these was the only available to the wealthiest.

My father told me he was 27 years old when he ate his first banana. This was in Canada in 1950.

A few weeks after the fall of the Wall in Germany we were in the grocery store in western Niedersachsen (just a few km from the wall) and encountered a woman from the East. She asked my wife what the names of several fruits and vegetables were.

For a couple of months after the wall came down it was impossible to find bananas. Germans love bananas!

Bananas were actually already sold fairly widely in the US in 1922. United Fruit Company et al. imported them by the boatload.

In fact, there was a crisis of supply caused by the Panama disease infesting the plantations, and people were very unhappy with that, because they got so used to the fruit.!_We_Have_No_Bananas

> United Fruit Company et al. imported them by the boatload.

…assisted by the United States Marines, and in fact the origin of the term “Banana Republic”.

I was shocked by the tastelessness of the company name when the Banana Republic clothing chain opened up.

I remember watching a documentary on the Titanic movie and they said oranges were considered luxury only the rich could afford
Even today we still get an orange in the toe of each Christmas stocking.
> It's a shame in a way that bananas and the like have become ubiquitous…

I’m happy to be able to eat a banana; merely sorry that the ubiquitous one is such a boring variety.

The consequences of the industrial monocrop banana will be solved soon one way or another: the cavendish is under attack and either it will be replaced or all bananas will go extinct. I suppose Hegel would have appreciated this example.

Bananas went (commercially) extinct decades ago. The things sold in stores today are a different fruit.
Apple bananas in Hawaii are delicious and available at the local Costco.

As you say, the “gros michel” cultivar is mostly dead commercially, although there are attempts to get a variant resistant to fungal disease.

I’d like to taste a Gros Michel some day.

Miami Fruit grows then and will ship: I’ve never tried it though
You can still get the smaller, wilder variety in other places in the world. For instance, the Philippines.
Every SE Asian country will have a few types of bananas available locally. Even Australia is jumping on the band wagon and I can get a couple more varieties now. I can even get plantains regularly.

But we’re talking about mangoes and bananas and pineapples and calling those “tropical fruit” when there’s so many fruits in the tropics.

I remember walking into a small village store in Costa Rica to be confronted by about 10 named varieties of bananas, and noticing in the core a box just marked "apple". It was a cool inversion of the usual pattern in the US (and Europe).
We have quite a few varieties regularly available in every corner store here in Brazil, they all taste quite good if you wait for them to ripe
Very interesting. There's this supermarket that sold these mangos with the label "shipped by air" for like $30/box which had like ~6 of them and I was wondering who would buy such expensive fruit!
I did once a website for the side project of a guy whose main business was making and licensing “maturation chambers” [1], basically containers where to put the unripe fruit with light and 90% humidity for shipping. Tomatoes go in smaller and green, but arrive bigger and red. If you factor in shipping, it makes sense to think that all the fruit would rot on arrival if you let it mature on the tree.

[1] in Spanish “cámaras de maduración”, not sure of the translation of this

survival of the shippest
Supermarkets have focused on breeding varieties that are bigger and more resilient to aging but completely lack of taste.
I wonder if there's a market in the U.S. for luxury fruits. I always hear about these incredible fruits available abroad that are only available in certain seasons, in certain climates, that decay quickly and travel poorly.

Presumably, you could grow god-tier mangoes year-round, right in the city, by simulating the right climate in fancy greenhouses - if you did it right, you wouldn't have an electric bill. If the mangoes really are as great as I've heard them described, I can imagine people would pay a huge premium for them. You could sell them to fancy restaurants, make ultra-luxury fruit baskets (I understand these are a big deal for Asians & Asian Americans), and eventually scale up to selling them to upscale grocery stores.

I think there really is a market for special fruits but the problems that prevent them from being ubiquitous lead to them being extremely local. In my area, we have a specific type of strawberry that sells out as quickly as they can be harvested. They are unlike any other strawberry available. Super juicy and sweet. Bright red throughout. Extremely perishable and delicate. They are only available for about 3 weeks in June and they tend to get moldy within a few days of harvesting, so you really only see them at farmers markets and a handful of grocery stores that specialize in local produce. If you want the best ones, you need to buy them within an hour of the opening of the farmers market. By 90 minutes, even the lower quality ones are gone. You get 2 more tries the following weekends and then they are gone until next year.

Since they cannot travel or be kept in inventory, they will never be available fresh more than about 50 miles from where they are grown.

What is the area with these strawberries? Asking for a friend..
Hood strawberries grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
God, I had a mixed berry smoothie at a random spot in Eugene over a decade ago, and it blew my brain right out the back of my skull.

Oregon's berries are no joke.

Exactly my experience too. I stopped by a random farm and picked some up and they were just so delicious.
And do you know what's the variety? Also asking for a friend!
I asked someone why local village wine in the south of France was better than 75% of the bottles I'd had.

They told me "The best grapes never make it out of the village. The next best grapes never make it out of the region. The next best grapes never make it out of the country."

Wine was probably a terrible example, being a less perishable good suited for transport, but the quip always stuck with me. No idea the origin.

We (city folk) assume that the best agricultural output is exported, but... why would it be?

The price differential for quality likely isn't very large, local consumption is relatively modest compared to output, and cap that off with the freshness timer.

The best wine I've ever had was in the French countryside. The best beef I've had was in a dirty road place in the middle of cow country. The best salmon I've had was in Seattle. The best sushi I've had was behind Tsukiji (when they still did wholesale fish there).

Eat local is as much about quality as it is other things.

> We (city folk) assume that the best agricultural output is exported, but... why would it be?

For the same reason everything else is exported. Its value somewhere else is higher than its local value.

Local value includes happiness.

Sometimes it's better to have good wine and one less euro, than another euro and worse wine.

> I wonder if there's a market in the U.S. for luxury fruits

As a hobbyist rare fruit grower and someone who spends a lot of time watching rare fruit YouTube, I would say that even though all the ingredients are there, it would be a huge uphill battle.

First, let me say the amount of hype right now around rare fruit is completely insane. It's literally hundreds of times harder to get the top fruit cultivars than it is to get a new nike drop, a PS5, etc. Often they only go on sale one day a year and are completely sold out in less than a minute.

The problem though is that to build a business you need repeat customers. There aren't many people willing to pay $20+ for some weird looking fruit they've never heard of, let alone do this on a weekly basis. Similarly, there aren't many people willing to pay $20+ for a single apple on a regular basis, when they can buy apples at the store for less than a dollar.

As it currently stands, most of the people who would be interested in this don't have the money to pay for it, and most of the people with the money to pay for it aren't interested. I think YouTube has the potential to change this, but it clearly hasn't happened yet.

It would be cool to open a story in NYC dedicated entirely to rare and luxury fruit, but it would be an insane amount of work to market it. And even if you were successful, VCs would just give hundreds of millions of dollars to some Adam Neumann type who would put you out of business by selling the same things at a massive loss.

I know I’d easily pay at least a few hundred a month for at least one overnight shipment of fresh, in-season, rare/novel fruit.

Receiving a shipment like that would be a joyous monthly treat.

I can’t be the only one … can I?

> I can’t be the only one … can I?

I mean the person growing the mango is most likely paying a few hundred bucks per mango, on the assumption that they'll get one or two every couple years if they keep it in a container, so in comparison paying a few hundred bucks a month and getting actual fruit is a pretty good deal.

Even if you were successful, VCs would just give hundreds of millions of dollars to some Adam Neumann type who would put you out of business by selling the same things at a massive loss.

I don't think it's VCs per se. For example, Amazon is actively trying to get in to fresh food logistics of late with their stores and various acquisitions, and they are public.

It's the 21st century object sales fallacy. Significant returns only exist at scale and you can't compete with capital, so what's the point of starting a venture in object sales today? It's default-dead in the face of its eventual competition, unless you have some angle like lockdown on the object sourcing through extremely complex objects, unassailable distribution or some alternative revenue model.

The margin on fruit and vegetable is typically low so you’d need quite a high margin, small volume plan. Might be doable.

Also: people in climate A don’t really know how to eat something from climate B (“how to” meaning recipes, is this dessert or a staple, etc) so you’d end up with a small customer base. Not a bad thing for a small lifestyle business in a big city.

Perhaps you could grow some of these (at a very high price) in similar facilities that are used for the famous Japanese cube/square shaped watermelons that are given as gifts.

If not a market in the USA, maybe in the very luxury food segment in Japan and South Korea, in whatever sort of food retailers occupy the market niche that is even more expensive than Whole Foods.

There is, check out Harry & David:
We've received Harry & David gifts in the past and - if you're expecting exotic fruits - you'll be very disappointed. The presentation is beautiful, but getting 5 under-ripe pears wrapped in gold foil does not seem worth the $50 (including shipping) cost.

Most of their fruit really seems just slightly above grocery store quality (though I do live in California, so our fruit is good). The varieties may sound special, but they're often just a branded version of a common citrus, apple, or pear.

You may not be eating it correctly

Pears are fruits that ripe after being picked from the tree. The photos in the web look like Decana pears, that are known universally as one of the top varieties of common pear.

Freshly picked from the tree are just hard and sweet, nothing special, but wait some days and wow... When the skin starts to feel soft at the touch, the flesh melts like butter and the juice drips from your mouth.

Is annoying to culture (must be pollinated carefully and the steams take strange directions that made it difficult to prune correctly), but is royalty in the pear world.

If yours were from that variety you should give it a second try, wait to middle of summer and taste one in their prime. Is just a pear, but it offers all that one can expect from a pear.

Yup, confirmed, the pears sold in the web aren't the old decana de comice but a close variety in the same group of comice pears.

Therefore a fruit that plays in the major leagues and has nothing to envy from tropicals

There are organizations like that grow exotic fruits that grocers don’t bother to stock. They don’t sell them (not enough money in it), but I know they’ll at least provide you with some if you’re doing an educational thing.

There are also a few businesses following exactly the model you outline, but they focus on one varietal/cultivar of one fruit, since each requires its own CapEx for its own climate setup.

The host of the YouTube channel gets fruits in from both of these all the time, (when he’s not going directly to other countries just to try exotic fruits.)

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