By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Haden mangoes lie on a plank of mango wood

MANGO on my mind
By Catherine Kekoa Enomoto

Mango mores.

We're not talking 10 commandments here, or letter of the law, or Emily Post etiquette. We're discussing local style, i.e., behavior of people who've grown up picking, eating and sharing mangoes in Hawaii.

The main mango more: Local people don't ask if they can pick the mangoes next door. They wait and hope that their neighbor will give them some.

"Islanders are shy about asking. They kind of wait to be invited to come, to my knowledge," said Lani Rabbon Kula, a retired Molokai nurse.

"We have common mango trees that have terrifically supported many, many families," she said. "I invited several new families to come share, so they have come."

Kula said sharing is another mango more -- "a custom that cuts across ethnic lines, definitely. Besides, if you share your fruit, you get abundance."

Mango more No. 3: If a neighbor's tree hangs into your yard, you're usually entitled to mangoes on that branch. After all, you rake its leaves all year.

Nevertheless -- here's mango more No. 4 -- it's always nice to get to know your neighbors, especially if they've got mango trees, because you know they can't eat all the fruit.

But, as Ben Carroll, executive director of the Neighborhood Justice Center said, "The main thing is not the mango, the main thing is the good relationship with your neighbors.

Which brings us to the last lesson: It's neighborly to place a box of extra mangoes from your tree by the mailbox for public consumption. Lanikai resident Mollie Foti's mango box advertises mangoes looking for "good homes" -- which presupposes that those who help themselves will take only what they need.

And, passers-by should "absolutely not" enter the yard uninvited to pick from the trees, Foti added.


This year's mango lode has been plagued by a fungal disease that causes black spots that look like tar.

"Black anthracnose has been a problem," said Dale Sato, a project manager at the Pearl City Urban Garden Center.

The fungal disease comes with heavy rains in the spring. About all you can do to guard against it is prune your tree so air can circulate and dry out the branches and fruit.

The good news is the mangoes are still perfectly edible. Just cut off the unsightly parts.

For information, call Sato, 453-6050 or the University of Hawaii plant disease clinic, 956-8053.

Catherine Kekoa Enomoto, Star-Bulletin


For the best mango prices, head out to the country.

Tamura Superette in Waianae and Bigway in Waipahu buy most of their mangoes from nearby residents. As a result, they can offer lower-priced fruit.

"(The mangoes) come from our neighborhood, Waianae, so there's no middle man to pay," said Madge Orita, a produce clerk at Tamura Superette. At 79 cents per pound, the store's mangoes are among the cheapest on the island.

Bigway's mangoes are also a bargain at 99 cents per pound.

"We're out here in the country and there's a lot of mangoes all around," said Craig Tadaki, manager at Bigway. In fact, mangoes are so abundant in Waipahu that he has to buy low -- 35 to 40 cents per pound -- and sell low, as well as turn mango vendors away.

"But people understand, and they still buy the mangoes," Tadaki said.

Gregg Fujioka, manager of Fujioka Super Market in Haleiwa, said he also buys from area residents. In the off-season, though, he turns to distributors for the fruit, which is much sought after year-round. Fujioka's mangoes are now $1.39 per pound.

If you don't live in the country or plan to visit anytime soon, expect to pay a bit more. Demand is high and supply is low in certain areas.

Here's a list of mango-laden markets and prices per pound. But if all else fails, you can always swallow your pride and beg a few from your neighbor.

Times Super Market, $1.69.

Kaimuki Produce Market, $1.19, 3585 Waialae Ave.

RC Market, $1.39, 1120 Maunakea St., Stall 155.

Sack N Save, $1.89.

Foodland, $1.99.

Excel Mart Inc., 1.99, 191 S. Hotel St.

Safeway, $3.89.

Star Markets, $1.69.

Kimberly Fu, Star-Bulletin

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Mango clock, by David K.Y. Chung, shows the color
and grain of this unusual wood.


Mango wood has been used for making calabashes and furniture, but it's a slow-growing wood so it's not harvested often.

Architect David K.Y. Chung, whose hobby is shaping varieties of wood into "ArchiClocks," said mango captured his interest. "It dries and cuts interestingly . . .

"The grain can be straight or have a lot of 'figure.' Wood from the base of the tree or where the branches originate will have a lot more figure and interesting grain patterns."

Tom McElligott, distribution manager at Martin & MacArthur, said mango "just promotes itself. We've seen a slow but steady increase in mango as a popular local exotic."

Mango wood is yellow, sometimes with orange or green streaks. When stored, it can develop "spalting," interesting dark threads caused by a fungus.

"It's a light wood, and it contrasts nicely with koa. It's also a very LOUD wood, with lots of colors in it. Some people really like that," said McElligott.

Martin & MacArthur has been offering mango-wood rockers and picture frames, and "both have done'very well,' " said McElligott.

Burl Burlingame, Star-Bulletin

More Mango!

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Community]
[Info] [Letter to Editor] [Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1997 Honolulu Star-Bulletin