Extreme heat and absence of rain play spoilsport
The yield of Imam Pasand mangoes from Thathachariar Gardens in Srirangam has come down this year due to extreme heat and absence of rain in May.
The family-run business owns four 80-acre farms around Srirangam where around six varieties, including the Imam Pasand, are grown. The owner S .Rangarajan’s friend brought a graft from Andhra Pradesh in 1945 and developed it here. All Imam Pasand variety of mangoes in this area is from the graft, says M. Arunachalam, who has been working at the gardens for decades. The graft caught on very well in the fertile soil of the Cauvery and yields good fruit. All varieties, including Banganapalli, Roumani and Kallamani, along with ‘Pacharisi’ mango, popular for raw consumption, which too, have been developed here. They are sold to customers who approach the farm directly.
The greatness of the farm is that no chemical is used to grow mangoes. It gives the Imam Pasand a soft and sweet yet tangy taste and texture. “We know that it may slow down our process and we cannot control it as much but biting a naturally grown mango is a totally different, says Mr. Arunachalam. “Other sellers across the city continue to sell mangoes claiming that they are Imam Pasand from our farm. Those who have tasted them will know the difference,” he added.
This year’s yield has not been even one-fourth of the usual output due to lack of rainfall, rues Mr. Arunachalam. “We had excessive heat and no rainfall. The flowering stage for mango requires heat but in case of excess flowers dry and wither,” he says. The recent rain hasn’t helped either. “They are good for trees but bad for the fruit.”
Due to lack of rainfall, sale of Imam Pasand mangoes is drawing to a close. “Most of Imam Pasand trees are barren now. We began selling in the first week of May and will be over by next week. Banganapalli and other varieties will last till June,” he says.
Customers throng the farm in February to make enquiries. Businessmen, tourists and locals too buy in bulk to distribute the same to family and friends. Sometimes, we courier them on request. Some customers say they even store mangoes for rest of the year. Before the season ends, I buy three or four dozens, pulp them and freeze them. They are taken out to use as toppings on ice cream or in milkshakes, says a customer.
(source : The Hindu)