We all have super powers, we just sometimes don’t know what they are. I finally figured out what my super power was while in Panama. I am amazing at spotting fruit in trees. It totally makes sense, I love fruit and even better if I can get it fresh off of a tree. Coconut, papaya and mango trees were everywhere. There could possibly be more mango trees in Panama than apple trees in Washington. Coconut trees are pretty obvious to spot but I got great at spotting mango and papaya trees and would point it out to Arran every single time I saw one. I finally asked him if he wanted me to stop pointing them out to him because I was worried I was getting obnoxious about it and he said no. One of the many reasons I married him. He even started getting a little better about spotting fruit rich trees (he didn’t even notice the orange trees in the beginning) and started pointing them out to me on the rare occasion I miss one.
I tried to get a good pic of this tree dripping in mangoes but we were driving so it’s not a great pic but dang, look at how many mangoes are on it! It’s like clusters of cherries. I’d love to be here in a couple of weeks when the mangoes and papaya ripen.
As you can imagine, I was super excited to try some new to me fruits while in Panama. One of the fruits I really wanted to try was the cacao pod. One of the Brit’s aunt used to have a cacao tree in her yard but they cut it down because it stopped producing fruit and we were too early in the season to be able to find them in any markets. Enter The Brit’s Tia (a different aunt who he lived with for a few years when he was younger). She said she would call around to track down a cacao pod for us and she did! A friend of a friend had a farm, Especias Valmar and she was going to take us to it. His uncle, who is a total workaholic even joined us for the day and what a day it was!
I wish I could remember everyone’s names. The owner of the farm didn’t speak english but his daughter, Aymeé, who is an engineer (and travels the world, she was fun to talk to) does, so she gave us a tour.
The farm didn’t have much shade and it was extremely bright and sunny so we slathered on the sunblock. I debated putting any on my forehead but didn’t want to get burnt. Of course I started sweating so much the sunblock kept going into my eyes. If only I had brought a hat. Oh wait, I did. It’s the one my husband is wearing in a lot of the photos. His skin is more sensitive than mine so he got to use my hat during the trip. So I walked around with a wet wipe wiping the sweat and sunblock out of my eyes. It must be love.
We spent a couple of hours exploring their farm and asking lots of questions. It was so much fun and fascinating. What a treat to be able to talk to the owners of Especias Valmar. The father spends all day working on the farm because he loves it.
Pineapples take about 9 months to grow. Their farm is only an acre so a lot of what they grow is for themselves.
Pepper is their main crop and they are working on selling pepper and ginger as well as some other spices. The pepper wraps itself around the trees. The trees have a fruit that is gourd like and can be used to make cups and bowls.
Interesting fact, black pepper, red pepper and green pepper are just various stages in the same pepper’s life.
These are plantain plants. I don’t know why I didn’t get a photo of the plantains. They didn’t know that the banana flower was edible or the inner banana stalk. We were happy to share our knowledge and hopefully they will be able to use those bits or sell them in the future instead of it going to waste.
Borojó is considered a natural viagra. The dad’s friends were mighty upset when they ran out of it, lol. I guess it works?
They also grow yucca, ginger, tumeric and a coffee plant on the farm. They have a vanilla vine but there weren’t any vanilla pods on there. Some things they grow, just to see if they will. Did you know the most expensive coffee in the world is grown in Panama? Geisha coffee is so expensive that only the super rich drink it, like the Queen of England.
Since the cacao pod was at the daughter’s house, we drove there and they showed us some of the fruits from their garden.
Mabolo is a cross between an apple and a peach. They have monkeys that live outside of their house and the monkeys and the squirrels love them so we were lucky to find any. I was charmed that they had monkeys but she says they aren’t so charming at 4am which is when the monkeys wake up.
As lovely and fragrant as the previous fruit was, Noni was the opposite. It smelled like funky cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love some funk in my cheese, not so much in my fruit. Didn’t want to try this, lol. Per Aymeé’s comment on this blog post, this is a super fruit.
They had this big beautiful avocado tree in their yard but the avocados were so high up they were unreachable. Talk about sad!
If possible, I’d love to visit more farms when I travel. Arran and I had a ball spending the day on the farm. A definite highlight on a trip full of highlights. On our next blog post we’ll talk more about some of the fruits of Panama, the cacao pod and the ice cream bean!