Thursday, March 14, 2013

Food Foraging

Hunting/gathering is not an extinct art in my part of Hawaii. And it a skill I'd recommend for others wishing to become more self-reliant. But for a person raised in "proper society" like my husband, the thought of foraging....or even allowing his wife to forage, was unthinkable! Poor hubby had to make some serious changes in his outlook on life, because wifey decided to forage like so many of the locals do here. Over time he has at least resigned himself to the idea.

Fruits are the main target in my area. Many landowners ignore their fruit trees. It turns out that most are happy to have someone come weekly and  clean up their yard. But there is a bit of etiquette involved. Plus getting permission to forage is sometimes a challenge. Simply going over and picking up fruit is not a good approach. I find that respectfully approaching the house and introducing myself is the first step. From there I explain what I do and why. I then offer a benefit to the landowner (keeping their lawn cleaned up, or returning some of the fruit in the form of jam, syrup, etc). I then set up a specific day and time that I will be by, say for example, every Weenesday at 2 pm. What's really important is that I adhere to that schedule for a few weeks before I make any deviations. Usually  I have little problem gaining the lndowner's approval. Oh, I have some failures. You just can't win them all. But some places where I had been rejected initially I was later invited back. Guess they heard good things bout me from their neighbors or friends,

Today I get more requests to gather fruit than I have time for. Tis a pity. I try to get to every location regularly but some I can only visit twice a month. Thus much of the fruit goes bad. But in order to keep good relations with those landowners, I remove all the fruit, good or bad. I just use the bad fruit to either feed the chickens or the compost pile. This keeps the landowners happy.

Fruits that I grow on my own farm include guava, banana, strawberry, lemon, orange, and pineapple. Fruits that I forage include guava, banana, mango, loquat, mountain apple, papaya, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, pomelo, tangelo, lemon, avocado, soursop, sapote, cherimoya, and occasionally pineapple. I also forage macadamia nuts, malabar chestnuts, kukui nuts, and sugar cane. Not a bad take, eh? 


  1. I envy you. I hope to move to hawaii within a year to 3 years. I know most of the edible schrooms here in Georgia and am a bit sad about leaving an area where I know what grows and how and when. If I move there, will you be my guide? I hope to move to Kauai. I had 15 acres of woods here, but just lost it. I've been here 23 years and now it is time to start over, I guess.

    1. Wynn, I live on Hawaii Island. That's quite a distance from Kauai. So the chances of running into each other is really slim. But I'm willing to answer questions for you if I can. Hubby and I moved here and knew almost nothing about growing things here, nor homestead farming. We did a lot of on-hands learning. In fact, I'm still learning!