Saturday, February 15, 2014

February Foraging

Thorough out the year I forage for wild foods, mostly fruits. Some are abandoned tres, but others are wild, having come up on their own. Every season has different fruits available. Right now it's persimmons, loquats, some citrus, plus some late guavas. 

The persimmon happens to be on my own property. A tree planted long ago which has produced dozens of keikis that are now producing fruit themselves. No one around here seems to know who planted the original tree. It's always been there, as far as people know. And every year people come to harvest the fruits. The trees produce hundreds of persimmons, so there's plenty to share. 
I've learned that you need to pick them just before they get ripe. Snagging them with a fruit picker is a challenge. Once you've got them, then you need to let them ripen. Eating them before they are mushy soft will pucker your mouth. Once ripe they are incredibly sweet. 

Loquats grow wild along my street. The wild ones are not as large and fleshy as the commercial varieties, but they are just as tasty. Most people don't bother with loquats, so I get to harvest as much as I want. Over the years I've pruned a number of the trees so that I can reach the fruits easier. A little pruning each year makes life easier. 
Citrus is generally a winter crop here, but not every citrus. But right now I'm harvesting oranges and lemons on my own farm, and limes for several friends' places. I just picked the last of the grapefruits from my own tree, but I know of other trees that are still producing. 

Then there are those bananas and papayas. They tend to produce year around although sometimes there are more to harvest than other times. I have several bunches of bananas almost ready to harvest. I'm just finishing up the last bunch. And while the papayas have slowed down, I'm still getting at least one a day. 

When it comes to bananas and papayas, for the past several years I've been planting them all around. Kind of like Johnny Appleseed. Today I planted three young banana trees along a road not far from me. Eventually they will produce and some lucky family will harvest fresh bananas. I see that some of the papayas are starting to produce and that people are collecting them. Good! So I'll start some more seed soon and plant more papaya trees along the back roads. Food for people to harvest. Yes! 

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