Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tropical Fruit!

When I first arrived at Kona Kai, I was thrilled to discover they have their own tropical fruit garden.  Not only that, but when fruit on the trees is ripe, they will pick it, prepare it, and make it available to guests both at the front desk and in the refrigerator at the pool; how awesome is that?!  It really serves to enhance the exotic atmosphere of the place and it is great fun to experience tasting fruits besides well-known choices such as banana, orange, and apple.  I know I was surprised to learn about the large variety of fruits in the world, many of which taste fantastic, and yet I rarely see them in stores.  In addition, there is nothing quite like being able to taste fruit right off of the tree (much commercial fruit is picked unripe before shipment - think bananas, tomatoes, etc. - and cannot compare to fruit that finishes ripening on the plant, in my opinion).  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to prepare and arrange my first fruit selection for the guests:

In the bottom-left of the picture, we have a star fruit (Averrhoea carambola) surrounded by Jamaican cherries (Muntingia calabura).  Pumello (Citrus maxima - in both bowls) and jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora - the dark purple spheres between the pumello wedges) are arranged on the wooden tray, and two Hibiscus flowers add a stellar splash of color to the presentation.  It always fascinates me to think about the many plants producing parts that are extremely tasty and nourishing to humans, and I often contemplate why this is.  Plants as food for humans is a big part of ethnobotany and it is always humbling to know that we would have nothing to eat if plants did not exist.

Rick Hederstrom
Associate Director

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