If You Can Climb a Tree, the Fruit is Yours

The farmers may not entirely agree, but that’s the sentiment for coconuts, at least. In some cases, Hawaii’s bounty of fruit grows wild roadside or in people’s yards; and in others it’s cultivated in formal fields with meticulous rows  of trees. Either way, the fruit is farm to table–and sometime doesn’t wait that long: farm to hand to mouth. Yummm.

My Inn on the Big Island was situated within a macadamia grove; and you had to pass a guava plantation to get to it; and they grew wild bananas on the property. So my first day was rather overwhelming. In a spectacular way.

Turns out that macadamia nuts in Hawaii are MUCH better than whatever yuck we get in the mixed nut cans on the mainland. Cover them in chocolate and glory be!

Macadamia Grove on the Big Island in Hawaii

Macadamia Grove on the Big Island in Hawaii

Not only is guava divine to drink, but it shows up in breakfast cake, dessert, and some deign to eat it as fruit, too. The smell. Sweet but not sticky. Fresh and lingering at the same time.

Guava grove on the Big Island in Hawaii

With 30 kinds of bananas grown on the islands, I focused on apple bananas. They’re dwarf and packed with sweetness. Two bites and you’re done. Banana trees are roadside and in yards; there are groves and a tree sprouting right there just because. I’m intrigued that the fruit grows upward–it curls back toward to the sun.

Bananas growing in Hawaii

Taro is a root (not a tater, like I thought) and makes the expensive chips we get at organic markets. It also makes poi. I don’t understand poi and learned that I’m not alone. It has the consistency of hummus and the flavor of nothing. Really, nothing. Its merits are protein and carbs, which are worthy. But so is flavor. Why don’t they add any spice? Everyone seems befuddled by the Hawaiian obsession with poi–and it is real, this obsession. Natives love it and eat it all the time. Transplants just don’t get it. Add some salt, soy sauce, anything.

It’s a thirsty plant, like sugar, and grows in constant water.

Taro Fileds in Hawaii

Taro Fileds in Hawaii

You crane your neck a lot in Hawaii. Looking up at fruit; looking down at fish. Hellllllo chiropractor.

I know the fruit on the left is papaya. I think the fruit on the right is, too. Can you confirm or deny?

papaya trees in Hawaii

Star fruit. We ate them straight from the tree! While I didn’t care for the taste, it was amazing to be able to do that. It’s a slight crunch to start, and then juicy. I think I didn’t like those two consistencies together–crunchy apple; juicy orange. Don’t mix them. Get your chocolate out of my peanut butter.

Star fruit in Hawaii

Do you have anything that looks like this in your backyard? Me neither. It’s Noni fruit.

Noni fruit in Hawaii

Surely you want to to know about pineapple–stay tuned. I went to a plantations and learned a lot about their cultivation. So they’ll get a solo post.

And there’s coconut–on the side of the road, in people’s yards, in rain forests. It’s amazing–and more incredible is the indigenous way of climbing trees and husking. Stay tuned for an upcoming post with pictures that will awe you and lessons learned at the Polynesian Cultural Center.


Have you eaten fruit direct from the tree?

14 Responses


I never cared about going to Hawaii until reading your posts. Wow! Thank you for descriptions that make my mouth water and awaken my dormant travel interests. Photos are excellent.
As for eating a fruit straight from the tree, from somewhere in my childhood I have a sense of eating kumquats (sweet skin, burst of sour inside) and figs from trees in my grandparents’ yard. Oh yes…and mangoes when I visited a friend in Florida; they grew in her yard.

Raye – for you to have travel interests is massive. Quick – tell Marvin!


Yes, ma’am, and in Hawaii. I especially loved the pineapples and papaya. Never ate papaya before and loved the pale orange flesh and luscious purple seeds. I can’t identify your pictures because by the time I saw the fruit, it was cut and on my plate. I have to say that Hawaii is an orgy of fruit.

Here’s a late happy birthday. What a way to start your new decade.

Jeannine – an orgy of fruit. well done! I’d been searching for a word and you had it!


That’s how I got Jake 🙂


Your Comments
If you are still in Hawaii, you should try out Hawaiian Fresh Farms on the North Shore of Oahu. I hear they have the best honey.

Laura – thanks for the tip. I’m not there anymore, but I’ll keep it in mind for a future trip!


Argghh! Those mouth-watering descriptions of yours are bound to make me more itchy to travel to Hawaii ASAP!


Thank YOU! I’m honored.


YoThe mystery fruit in the photo next to papayas may be mango (?). Did you get thedemo on all the uses of coconut -shampoo, food, rope, etc?

Bob – i did not hear about coconut as shampoo – do tell!

Being from the northeastern U.S., my fruit from tree/plant/bush to mouth experiences are limited to apples, pears, blueberries and blackberries. I think I also tried some wild string beans and we dug some potatoes out of the garden of a house we rented in England. I remembering enjoying the papaya (with a little lime juice squeezed on it) in Hawaii and I’m looking forward to eating it again when we’re there in February.

BTW, I’m with you on the “what’s with the poi” thing. It reminded me of paste—not that I’ve eaten that much paste in my life—-perhaps a taste or two in kindergarten 🙂 I’m looking forward to your ongoing cornucopia of Hawaii posts.
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A surprising fruit(?) I had off a tree in Hawaii was Avocado. What a treat! I had never realized they grew on trees. I tried to bring some home but they frowned on that at the airport, even years ago. Did you find any?

Mimi – avocado season had passed. i was bummed about that.

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