I’ve said au revoir to the palm trees of Hawaii and am back wearing my winter hat in a not-so-tropical climate. But I do have a few tidbits about palm trees and coconuts I’d like to share. At one point on the farm, an order came in for 16 “drinkers.” Those are the green coconuts still on the tree with slightly sweet coconut water inside. In order to get them, someone has to harvest them from the tree. I feel like I’ve seen a TV show where young men with some sort of Spider Man gene scale the trunks.
Without anyone with such agile abilities on the farm, a tree stand was in order. I had no idea how the two metal pieces with cords that snapped around the tree would work. So I just watched. Both parts of the tree stand have claws that grip into the tree trunk, keeping it securely locked to the tree when pressure is applied. Rick, a fellow worker on the farm, attached both parts to the tree. He then hooked his feet into the bottom section and allowed the top section to come under his arms. He then shimmied up the tree, alternating pressure on either the top or bottom part to keep him steady, and moved the other section up. After only a few minutes he had reached the top. At that point, the green drinking coconuts could be cut down.
He was supposed to have tied a rope around them somehow so that they wouldn’t fall to the ground. It must not have worked because a showering of coconuts came down instead. Even though a few of them broke and couldn’t be sold, that just meant that we could enjoy the clear, refreshing coconut water instead.
In terms of coconut meat, the more mature brown coconuts that have naturally fallen have that. It’s a little difficult to hack the shell open and pry the white fruit from around the shell, but the succulent treat is worth the effort. I also got to taste a sprouted coconut. These are fallen brown coconuts that have started to grow roots into the ground and a stalk on the top. Left alone, these would eventually grow into full palm trees. But harvested in an early stage, they offer a surprisingly delicious treat. Inside, the sprouted coconut has a spongy white ball that feels like angel food cake. The sweet and soft goodness melts in the mouth.