ALOHA FROM JENNIE: With summer around the corner, we flock to Farmers' Markets held in a variety of locations around the islands several days a week. One can enjoy selections of fresh produce such as Waimanalo greens and Kahuku corn, as well as prepared foods including honey, mochi, plate lunches, and perhaps even pick up fresh flower bouquets.
Hawaii's fruit selection, as pictured above, includes bananas, coconuts, papayas, lychee, pineapple, mangoes, guava, and watermelon. The more common Hawaiian grown fruits are:
- Bananas aren't native to Hawaii, having originated from Malaysia and brought to the islands by South Pacific islanders. Apple bananas are especially popular and are sweeter than its traditional counterpart..
- Coconuts were introduced by Polynesians and have been used in Hawaiian culture and traditions, such as covering canoes or creating mats, baskets and brooms with coconut husks and using the shells for drums.
- Guava originated from Mexico and Central America, but is now widely grown in our islands and used to produce Hawaiian guava nectar and jams.
- Lychee originated from Asia and Northern Africa. In addition to enjoying the fruit 'straight', the sweet lychee is also used to flavor confections such as shaved ice or candy. Lychee infused martinis are a popular cocktail.
- Mangoes are Indian in origin but various strains are now grown widely on the islands of Kauai and Hawaii. Mango chutney and salsa are popular resulting products.
- Papaya originated from Central and South America, and has undergone genetic modification to ward off viruses. It's now an island favorite as a breakfast fruit, and is also used in a variety of Thai and Filipino dishes.
- Pineapple originated from South America, but is now an island icon. Its Hawaiian name is 'halakahiki' and the fruit is high in vitamin C, fat and cholesterol free and low in sodium. Hawaii pineapple plantations produce almost a third of the world's pineapple crop.
- Watermelon production in Hawaii exceeds 14 million pounds annually, of which Kahuku melons are a small fraction. However, Kahuku watermelons are favored by many who feel it is superior in its sweetness and crisp texture.
Hawaii also grows strawberries, passionfruit, starfruit, wine grapes at sea level, and jaboticaba (similar to lychee). With so much variety to choose from, we're looking forward to refreshing fruit salads, smoothies and juices, jams and syrups.