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Mango chutney, a historical fundraiser


12:09 a.m. EDT August 22, 2015

(Photo: Anne Reed/The News-Press)

Tropical Fruit Products Inc., once located on US 41 and owned by Edith Trebell, made a mango chutney so famous that the Waldorf Astoria had it shipped to New York.

Grace Fernandez, Rosa Fernandez Soto, Julia Soto Hall, and Marjorie Mckewon Soto all worked for Mrs. Trebell, who kept her mango chutney recipe a secret. 

Toward the end of her life, Mrs. Trebell gave the recipe to the four women, swearing them to secrecy and making them promise to only make the recipe for their families.

Grace passed on the recipe to her daughter-in-law, Marlene Fernandez, who still makes the recipe. 

The recipe was gifted to the Estero Historical Society by Marlene and by Ruth Mason, Edith Trebell’s niece. 

Today, the recipe is used as a fundraiser for the historical society and proceeds go toward the schoolhouse restoration project.

Marlene and other volunteers make vats of the mango chutney meat sauce, and it is sold in half pints ($6), pint jars ($11) and quart jars ($25).

Several books are also available for purchase: “Beside the Still Waters” — a history of the Fernandez family and their journey to the United States, “Early Estero,” Evelyn Luettich Horne’s Cookbook and “Rhymes and Riddles” — a history of Florida and the attractions around the state. 

The chutneys and jams can be purchased while supplies last, at events, meetings, or at the cottage when staff are present. 

Call the Estero Historical Society for more information (239-992-3178 or 239-498-5296).

Sadly, we can’t share the recipe — it is still a well-kept secret.

Call for recipes

For the last four months, we have shared historic recipes with local ties. Some have been well received, while others have been flops in the pan. All have been an entertaining look at our culinary history.

Now, we’d like to hear from you. We are accepting recipe submissions for Flavors of Paradise. Have a family recipe to share with local ties? 

Send it in, along with your story. 


 If you would prefer to mail your story and recipe in, send recipes to The News-Press, Attention: Anne Reed/Flavors of Paradise, 2442 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers, FL, 33901.

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