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Over 15% in sugar content! Ogimi Village’s Himegimi Mangoes are grown with reduced pesticides
post : 2021.05.28 19:00
With a history of 44 years in cultivation achievements, Fine Fruits Ogimi is a highly reputed mango farm that produces top-quality mangoes in all of Japan. Situated in their 10ha grounds, the 25 greenhouses that stand in an area of approximately 5ha produce an annual yield of about 70 to 80 tons of mangoes, the highest production amount in Okinawa.
It is said that there are over 600 varieties of mangoes produced across the globe, and at Fine Fruits Ogimi, they grow the Irwin variety. Because these fruits develop into red coloring, they’re sometimes also called apple mangoes.
The farm was originally located in Tomigusuku City on approximately 50r of land, but they relocated to their present spot in Ogimi Village to expand their production. The owner of the farm, Atushi Oshiro, lives and works by his mottos, “take full responsibility for all my actions,” and “to not rely on others for my success”. With these principles, Oshiro-san has managed to expand his farming business to the scale that we see today and has 13 employees (and hires part-time employees during the busy season) who help him run his mango farm.
At the time of the interview for this article (at the end of April), they were in the midst of the thinning process. The mango flowers are usually in full bloom around mid-March at Fine Fruits Ogimi, and the honeybees in the greenhouses assist in the pollination. After the pollination, the flowers fall from the branches and the fruits begin to grow and grow. A mango tree has numerous fruits growing from each branch, but to grow delicious mangoes, it’s necessary to thin out the branches and keep only those that will be harvested. They usually leave about one or two mangoes per branch and the rest are eliminated.
They’ve installed boilers to maintain the best temperature within the greenhouse for the mangoes to grow, as the temperature can vary even within the same greenhouse. Great care and attention are given to produce the highest quality of mangoes.
Once the thinning procedure is complete, they move onto the hanging or stringing, which allows the fruits to be exposed more to the sun.
“These mangoes are full of life, and we grow them with all the care we can give them,” says Yoshikazu Higa, who has been working at Fine Fruits Ogimi for 27 years. Higa-san attended the same agricultural university as Oshiro-san and is now in charge of the greenhouses.
“At our farm, we grow mangoes with reduced pesticides. It would be ideal to grow them without any pesticides, but that lets the insects ruin the fruits and is not the best for consumers. Many people buy mangoes for gifts and Ochugen (traditional custom of exchanging gifts in the summer season), and very few people say ‘It’s ok to buy and send mangoes that have been eaten by insects.’ Still, we can reduce the pesticides that need to be used. What we hope to do is to do what we can to meet the needs of consumers who are looking for safety and peace of mind in the foods that they choose…”
To be more environmentally friendly, they also switched from motorcycles to bicycles to get around the farm at Fine Fruits Ogimi. “The cause for global warming is not just from CO2 emissions, but there are ways to alleviate the burden on the environment. What one person can do may be very little, but we are not completely powerless,” says Higa-san.
The mangoes that are grown with tender loving care are named “Himegimi” and are delivered to the consumers to enjoy. The name doesn’t just mean “princess” but is derived from the words that describe how they’re grown “under the brilliant sun of Ogimi”. Typically, mangoes have a sugar content of 13% but Himegimi mangoes have over 15%, the same as the popular Taiyo-no Tamago mangoes grown in Miyazaki Prefecture. Himegimi mangoes are rich and sweet with a texture that melts in your mouth, and the aroma is fabulous. These amazing mangoes are currently growing big and healthy in the wonderful environment of Ogimi Village. We hope you’ll try them♪
You can order Himegimi mangoes from Okinawa CLIP Marche.
Harvesting of the Himegimi mangoes begins around the end of June. I’ll follow up with shipping updates around the beginning of July, so stay tuned.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi.