Grafting is a horticultural technique used to join parts from two or more plants so that they appear to grow as one single plant. For Government of Guam retiree and farmer Johnny Castro, it is a fascinating art that he learned from watching others. "I never had the schooling for the most part, I have not read the scientific. How they were grafting it?" he said.
Known as The Mango Man, Castro has been grafting mango trees since 1997 at his farm in Talofofo, focusing on carabao, Indian and King Edward varieties and his grafted mango trees are a hot commodity, with farmers and even nurseries buying several at a time. Currently, he provides carabao mango to the Payless Markets. Aside from mangoes and grafting, Castro is the go-to man for hot peppers. With over 600 pepper plants, he has met the demand, providing to several local businesses and restaurants.
"I give Meskla, Pika, Linda's Cafe, and Kevin Aguon, who makes the Still Smokin' Finadene Denanche," he shared with a smile. Since connecting with Farm to Table Guam, the non-profit has been instrumental in securing buyers for Castro, as he said, "I think I do it because I need to something. I can't be just roaming around. I need to be productive and try to make money out of it."
And Castro is all for restaurants and consumers purchasing locally, adding, "It helps us local backdoor farmers. It's really nice - keep the money here and circulating here."
If you would like to purchase hot peppers or grafted mango trees. You can call Castro at 797-9445.