Mondays adventure in Lahaina was to the Maui Dragon Fruit Farm, which is the largest one here on Maui! Mom was on the fence about going because she says dragon fruit doesn’t have much flavor and I would’ve had to agree. The only times I have had it there wasn’t much flavor but I think they are a beautiful fruit and I wanted to check out the farm since they have 16 different varieties. I am so glad that we did!
The staff had a lovely platter of fresh fruit for us to try before our tour as well as some locally made jam that is so delicious. Our tour guide was Lewis, who has only been on island for 3 weeks. He is a surfer from the Northern part of Cali who used to teach 5-to-10-year-olds how to surf. Mom and I could both see him doing this and being a great teacher. Lewis has a very kind spirit and you can instantly like him. Of course Mom had to mother him about being sure he is prepared for the future and her normal stuff, which he took in stride.
I can tell you the fresh Dragon Fruit we had in Maui was nothing like other ones we have tried before.
The work that goes into growing these fruits is very labor intensive and Maui Fruit Farms is a totally organic farm. The flowers are hand pollinated at night from 9pm until around midnight. There is only a small window for pollination. They do have bees that help to pollinate but they are usually out during the day and you can’t rely on them solely.
After hand pollination, the fruit is ready in about 45 days. It will turn a lovely shade of pink and be soft to the touch.
They use a Chinese method of planting vertically (the Chinese have had a heavy influence here in Hawaii but more about that later). The plants are grown on these vertical cement type poles to allow support and easier picking. Fruit is just starting to be ready and in another week or so it will be like mad with pollinating and harvesting. The largest threat to the fruit are birds so there are these soft white mesh bags that are placed around the fruit so the birds won’t mess with it.
The farm also grows some pineapple, passion fruit, cacao, bananas and papaya, long ones we are used to seeing and then these round ones that are called strawberry papaya. They also have a zipline and this water ball thing that basically you are in a big bubble and you roll down the hill inside the ball. Makes me seasick just thinking about it.