Not all mangoes are created equal. A simple statement but there is so much behind it. So what goes into growing a fresh from Florida tree-ripened mango?
Well, maybe we should start by telling you a little about this special place on the southwest coast of Florida, right next to the Gulf of Mexico.
Back in the early part of the last century, mango growing was catching on in Florida and Pine Island was no exception. Two brothers, Ralph and Cape Bailey, decided to give mango growing a try so they began cultivating mangoes here. After a while, they got so good at it that they even developed their very own special variety called the Bailey's Marvel. The two brothers have long since passed but their legacy remains and amazingly after all these years, that very first Bailey's Marvel tree is still standing and bearing sweet and delicious fruit right here in Gatherings Grove. Drop by and we'll be glad to show you a piece of Pine Island history!
With a little dedication and hard work, you can accomplish amazing things. And so begins our story.
People have been cultivating mangoes for a really long time and when you consider just how long mangoes have been around well I guess you could say we're really novices at growing them. But that's OK because we have many friends who know a lot about the care and feeding of mangoes and other things and they help us. That's just how it is here on Pine Island.
We didn't intentionally decide to start being mango producers. We're actually a Community of believers, who live together, according to the pattern of the early disciples in the Book of Acts found in the Bible. We found this beautiful property and we realized that it was made for us and anyone else who was lonely or needed a way out of the chaos of this present world. In fact, you're always welcome to drop by for a visit and get to know more about us.
Some really special people invested their life's work into making this grove what it is long before we arrived here and because of that, we want to work together and care for it as they did and always be thankful for their contribution and the legacy each of them has left behind.
Gatherings Grove is really two groves in one. The best of two periods in time. One grove is from the early years of mango cultivation in Southwest Florida. The 1930's and 1940's were a time when life was a great deal slower and less complicated in certain ways. In fact, back then you might have seen the Bailey brothers walking down Quail Trail here in Bokeelia after a long hot day working in their new grove. Ralph and his brother weren't afraid of hard work and they proved it by growing some of the finest mangoes around. They grew the first Bailey's Marvel mango tree in the world and the same original tree is still standing here in the old grove.
The newer part of our grove was planted in the latter part of the 1990's by Bob and Vivian Murray. Vivian traveled to Thailand in the 1990's to search out new varieties of mangoes that were not known to Florida. She returned from there and began introducing new mango cultivars to Pine Island. Some of those varieties are Nam Doc Mai, Brahm Kai Meu, Kyo Savoy and many others.
Overall, Gatherings Grove is home to over 800 mango trees and over 40 different varieties. We hope that you will enjoy the mangoes that grow here. Come by sometime and we'll show you around.