Like every year, the first batch of alphonso mangoes entered the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market in Vashi on Monday morning, around the Makar Sankranti muhurat.
Farmer Razak Karim Qazi brought seven and half dozens of the variety from Vijay Durga village in Devgad district at around 8.30 am. Said Qazi’s son, Riyaz, “Owing to the winter, these mangoes took five months to ripen. It is a natural crop. No artificial process was resorted to.”
“The alphonso season starts from April. But we managed to get this batch early as we have a special technique to ensure early ripening of the fruit,” he added.
Chandrakant Dhole, the fruit merchant at APMC market who received the mangoes, said, “A puja is conducted whenever the first batch of alphonsos arrives at the market. The ritual was followed this year too. Every year, it almost coincides with the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti.”
“The quality of the alphonso that we have received is very good. The first crate of alphonso mangoes has been sold to a trader from Mumbai’s Crawford market,” he added.
Dhole, however, did not disclose the price at which the mangoes were sold. “Price is not really a factor in this sale. The amount is shagun for us on this auspicious day,” affirmed Dhole.
However, a market source, on condition of anonymity, said, “The first arrivals are always sold at a premium. In the wholesale market, the price may be above Rs. 1,200 per dozen. In the retail, of course, it goes at a much higher price.”
Confirmed a retailer, “The first arrivals are in great demand in Mumbai. Buyers don’t mind paying huge sums to get a taste of it.”