We Were Promised the World’s Most Delicious Mangoes. They Never Came.

On April 27, 2007, a shipment of 150 boxes of Indian mangoes arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York in what The New York Times described as “probably the most eagerly anticipated fruit delivery ever.”

This shipment was the result of years of maneuvering and lobbying efforts that went straight to the top; even then-president George W. Bush had been plied with an Indian mango sample. The importation of Indian mangoes into the US had been officially banned since 1989, ostensibly due to concerns over pests that might have spread to American crops. Even before the ban, mango shipments from India had been vanishingly rare.

Indian-Americans, in particular, knew exactly what they had been missing. India is the spiritual, cultural, botanical, agricultural, and culinary homeland of the mango—scientifically, Mangifera indica. The South Asian nation grows far more mangoes than any other, representing over 40 percent of the

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