Take 5, Mango Lady Marathon, Final Round: Interview with a mango loving politician, Shannan “Lady” Ighodaro, Miami Gardens Councilwoman

Welcome to the final round of The Mango Lady Mango Marathon. Check out Round 1Round 2 and Round 3 for a mouthwatering recap of the prior mango showcase. It’s hard to believe we are already at the tail end of mango season here in South Florida. It’s been a bountiful season with lots of mango varieties to choose from. I imagine you’ve enngaged in many passionate conversations with family and friends this summer about this and that mango. I’ve enjoyed sharing tidbits about lesser known mango varieties found throughout the region.

Photo credit: Tanya The Mango Lady

I often marvel over the synchronized timing and intentional cycle of each mango season. Things naturally progress from blossom, to bud,  to a final bountiful harvest. A vivid reminder to us all that everything has a time, place and its season (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I remain intrigued by the intricate life lessons we can glean from something as basic as a mango. “Each mango season provides a symbolic reminder, that nature and the things we cherish experience disruption, uncertainty, and change. However, all-natural systems have a cycle with a beginning and a definite end.” Excerpted from my book Living the mango-licious life: Sips & Tips On Surviving & Thriving Beyond Seasons of Adversity.

Photo credit: Tanya The Mango Lady,
Flora From Mckee Botanical Gardens, FL

Besides the thrill of engaging in this year’s “mango marathon,” the naturalist in me has thoroughly enjoyed the enigmatic discovery of exploring new trails, beaches, lakes and parks across the south Florida region.

Florida is blessed with a plethora of great park spaces. There are over 175 State parks and hundreds more County and City owned parks to explore across Florida. Many of these sites are home to plant and animal species that are indigenous to Florida and cannot be seen anywhere else in the continental United States

Photo Credit: Tanya the Mango Lady, Mckee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, FL

There is something majestic about being in nature and experiencing the orchestral hum and hiss of God’s creation. This year was filled with so much loss and grief for many families  impacted by Covid-19. However, amidst the surmounting challenges, I found solace and a place of refuge in nature. There is indescribable peace, strength and fulfillment that we can enjoy by stepping away from the hypnotic grind of the work or home routine and taking in the amazing animal, flora, and fauna, teaming with vibrancy and abundant life.

Photo credit: Zebra butterfly sighting, Mckee Botanical Garden, Vero Beach, FL

Given the foregoing, I continue to maintain hope that this tragic Covid-19 season and all the anxiety, mess and despair its ushered in, must and will eventually end. It may not be a quick turn around, so I’m thankful that God remains our refuge and strength during this time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). God has provided abundant blessings to sustain us amidst life most challenging storms.

In the meantime, let’s continue to celebrate the good things that graciously remain like family, friendships and the assurance of God’s love. With the end of mango season in sight, let’s savor the sweet, succulent joy of that final backyard mango down to the last itty bitty drop.

Below, I am ecstatic to share this year’s final mango lady marathon, showcasing lesser known varieties. Many of these are mostly available towards the end of the season. Also check out my chew and chat with fellow mango lover, politician Shannon “Lady” Ighodaro, Miami Gardens Councilwoman. Discover her personal thoughts (below) about mangoes, and enjoy slices of inspiration for the seasons ahead.

Let’s do this mango gang!

Keitt (Florida)

Keitt  – The Keitt mango is that faithful late bearing mango who sticks around when all the other mangoes have left the party. The crop will run until September so it’s a welcomed finale to the SoFlo mango season. The flavor is sweet with rich aromatic notes of pineapple and citrus.

Nancy (Florida)

Nancy – This is a delightful mango with a gentle dose of sweetness,  mild flavor and oodles of fibreless juicy smooth flesh. The shape is perfectly round and resembles that of a grapefruit.

Maha Chanok (Thailand)

Maha- The Maha Chanok “Maha” for short is a cultivator’s mango. This is a “bucket list mango” for any avid mango addict. The Maha  has a complex earthy flavor and silky smooth texture that reminds me of the Nam Doc but with a aromatic kick. The elongated shape is a definite show stopper. This was a welcomed end of season treat for me. A++

Sweetie Come Brush Me (Jamaica)

Photo credit: Sweetie Come Brush Me by Tanya The Mango Lady

Sweetie Come Brush Me – (yes that’s actually the name) lol. I got a pleasant surprise when I discovered the last couple mangoes dangling from my cousin Gary’s mango tree in South Florida. The name is very fitting for a mango blessed with abundant sweetness, fantastic flavor and extra fiber. The taste has hints of pineapple, sugarcane and marmalade. Picture above shows a ripe and a green version of this fantastic mango.

Photo: Shannan Ighodaro, Councilwoman Seat 3, Miami City of Gardens. FL

Rate your love for mangoes on a scale from 1(its no big deal) to 10 (highest mango-nificent level). Its a 10

What’s your favorite mango ? The variety called Hairy or Stringy Mango

Why is that mango your fave? It reminds me of my childhood growing up in the Bahamas. There is something about this mango that is nostalgic. When I think about carefully peeling each strip and savoring the unique variations in flavor, I’m overcome with the feeling of getting the best out of every fibrous bite and getting to the seed. I even enjoy looking at the unique shapes of the seed when I get to the core. Its an entire experience for me.  

What mango would you gift to someone you adore? I would gift the Stringy or Hairy mango because of its popularity. It is readily available and always enjoyable, juicy and sweet.

What rare or lesser known varieties would you recommend to others ? Purple Mango AKA Miyazaki because it is rich in antioxidants and it can help to boost the immune system. This mango is sounding good right now.

What mango-licious lessons have you learned as you reflect on the challenges met over the past year and half? A lesson I learned despite the challenges of the past year and a half is the importance of celebrating life with family and appreciating the things that are right in front of me.  Additionally, this has been a season of resourcefulness where I along with many others found new opportunities to grow. Having a mango-licious mindset for me is to rise above the challenges, to arrive at a sweet place of connecting to what really makes life worthwhile.

Looking forward, share words of hope for the mango-licious seasons ahead? As I look forward to the mango-licious seasons ahead, I remain grateful and optimistic that the best is yet to come. I am excited that just as the mango seed was planted and cultivated, the season of blooming is now here and it is open for all of us to take advantage of with abundance and appreciation. I now think a lot more about life, my faith, family and friends. I am grateful I survived the challenges of the past year and as the storm moves on I look ahead to the beauty of  the sun shining with abundant radiance on many mango trees. I recognize the blessing and sweetness in the realization that our challenges made us stronger and that more mango-licious days are ahead of us.

There you have it folks! It’s a wrap. We have come to the final round of this summer’s mango lady marathon. I hope I have wet your appetite with the many mangoes showcased and you now feel encouraged to step out your comfort zone and sample new varieties of mangoes next season. If you have enjoyed this blog post, please like and share with a friend or fellow mango lover.  Have a favorite lesser known mango or tasty mango recipe you would like to share? Please leave a comment below.

As always,  keep living your mango-licious life! Learn more about the mango-licious life by ordering a copy of my book on Amazon today https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735761621

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