The following are the mangoes you'll see most often in the market. I've given a few hints about how to distinguish one variety from another, which gets easier with practice. You can always ask your produce manager where the fruit comes from when you're in doubt.
Mexican Mangoes I like the mangoes imported from Mexico alot. Basically kidney-shaped, they're big and greenish yellow, with a red-orange blush in May. Those on the market in March and April tend to be greenish yellow and not quite as large or as plump.
Florida Mangoes Also excellent and of very high quality, the crop from Florida starts in May and continues through September. The most popular variety is the Tommy Atkins, probably because it's so colorful, with orange to orange-red skin. Oval in shape, it averages about a pound in size and has a bright yellow, fine-textured flesh. Tommy Atkins are sweet and juicy, but a little more fibrous than other varieties.
The Hayden usually runs less than a pound, is rounder than most varieties, and has a green to yellow skin with a red blush. The flesh is firm and bright orange and has a good, rich flavor.
The Keith is round and very fat and is the largest of the Florida mangoes, running from two to three pounds. Its green skin may or may not have a touch of red. Because it has less color and less aroma than the Hayden, Kent, or Tommy Atkins, people often pass it by because they think it's not ripe when it actually is. The pit is smaller than that of most mangoes, and the flesh is yellow-gold. Although it's not quite as fragrant or sweet as other varieties, the Keith has a full flavor, tart and lemony, and a smooth, fiber-free flesh.
The Kent is fairly large, fat, and not as oval or as flat as the others. It has a green skin with a reddish cheek and averages a pound to a pound and a half in size. Its yellow-gold flesh is very juicy and fiber-free.
The Palmer is a long, oval-shaped fruit that usually runs about a pound in size. It has a rosy, speckled skin with an orange-yellow - almost apricot-colored - flesh. It's not as fragrant as some, but it's very sweet and is fibrous only around the pit. The Palmer has a little less of the tropical taste of most mangoes, with a flavor more like that of a nectarine or peach.
Haitian Mangoes Although they're always underrated, Haitian mangoes are my favorite. At our store we sell fifty crates of Tommy Atkins for every one we sell from Haiti. A Haitian mango is very flat and elongated, with a skin that starts out lime green and ripens to yellow. It doesn't look pretty, and the flesh is a little more fibrous, but I think it has the best flavor - an intense, tropical taste. It's a great winter treat in January, when the season begins, and it ripens very well at home.
You can usually find good mangoes on the market from January through September. The poorest time is toward the end of the year - November and December. Mangoes are good early in the season, but like oranges, they're at the peak of flavor toward the end of the season.
* Mexican mangoes: Peak season begins in late March and lasts through September
* Florida mangoes: May through September
* Haitian mangoes: January through September
* Brazilian mangoes:September through January