Festival celebrates mango fruit

BAYVIEW — Unlike the mangos found in grocery stores, the homegrown fruits grown at River’s End Nursery and Farm in Bayview are unpredictable and colorful in taste.

Some taste like lemon drops. Others taste like coconut. And then there are the mangos that melt in your mouth.

At the 8th annual Mango Fiestival on Saturday morning, members of the community were invited to the nursery to sample different types of mango and could purchase foods that incorporated its use.

“It’s exhilarating. Bayview is very different from the rest of the area. It’s more lush, and the nursery is spectacular,” said Lyon Raphbun, a resident of Rancho Viejo. “Walking into this festival was like walking into a tropical little paradise.”

Raphbun was with his wife, Cyndie. The couple always is looking for new activities in the Rio Grande Valley.

“We certainly try. We love Brownsville and the Valley, and everything about it culturally,” Cyndie said.

Doug Krawczynski and his wife, Lisa, brought their three children to the festival to try something new. The family lives in Bayview but until this year has never had time to attend the festival due to Krawczynski’s work.

“It’s great. It looked very organized, and the turnout was incredible. I was impressed with the traffic here and the variety of vendors,” he said.

Krawczynski said the event had potential to become an all-day event and draw more traffic to Bayview.

“This is something that should be on everyone’s vacation agenda,” he said.

It helps that the festival offered activities for the children, too, something any family would appreciate, Krawczynski added.

Last year, the festival attracted more than 700 people. Kathy and Ed Pechacek, the co-owners of the River’s End Nursery & Farm, braced for an even bigger crowd this summer.

“Most people don’t know what a good mango tastes like. … They have an incredible range of tastes and aromas. There’s just an amazing variety, and they are good for you,” Kathy said.

The festival’s purpose was to inform people of the different types of mangos and what people could do to grow them in South Texas.

The Pechaceks also had varieties of subtropical fruit trees for sale.

“We want to see what else people can grow in South Texas besides citrus,” Kathy said.