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TheStreet Open House

Haitian Mangoes Provide Sweet Relief To Growers In Need

Stocks in this article: WFMI

AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Haiti's king of fruit – the Francis mango – is taking the throne at Whole Foods Market. For a limited time, shoppers will find this exclusive, organic and Fair Trade™ Certified fruit under the grocer's Whole Trade program. The Whole Trade Guarantee – which drives meaningful dollars into the struggling Haitian economy – ensures that these rare, delicious mangoes are ethically grown and sourced.

Whole Foods Market is the sole buyer of certified organic and Fair Trade Certified mangoes from small Haitian growers, sometimes buying from a family with just one tree. Shoppers can find these mangoes in stores nationwide under the grocer's Whole Trade program during the varietal's short six-to-eight week season.

"This variety's juicy, richly-flavored flesh and sweet, aromatic scent excites all the senses for a truly tropical flavor experience our shoppers wait for all year," said Michael Besancon, senior global vice president of purchasing, distribution and marketing. "The bright flavor and low-fiber texture of the Francis mango from Haiti is simply unmatched. Best of all, with the Whole Trade Guarantee, shoppers can buy with confidence, knowing that their purchase help put money back into the pockets of the hard-working farmers who produce this exceptional fruit."

Through Whole Trade products, Whole Foods Market supports positive change in the developing countries where it sources products. The program ensures exceptional quality, a safe and healthy working environment and the peace-of-mind that those foods are produced using environmental practices that promote biodiversity and healthy soils.

"Despite the troubles and poverty gripping Haiti, the population and especially the mango growers still have hope" said Ben Schmerler, producer services manager for Fair Trade USA. "By celebrating this Haitian gem and investing our efforts and faith in the growers, together we can help Haitian people rebuild their future."

Many Haitian mango growers have only one or two trees, and with the season being a short period from late April to early June, equitable pay is crucial to assist these growers year-round. Whole Foods Market's on-the-ground exporter, Perry Exports, is the key driving force organizing the grower groups to achieve and maintain Fair Trade and organic certifications.  These certifications increase transparency and market value which drives better returns for growers.

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