What a booty we received from our local fruit bike ride meanderings today! The starfruit tree is fruiting again, and these babies are so tasty dripping ripe right off of the tree. My friends and I also visited an avocado that I have not met before, a beautiful variety with black edible skin called Mexicola. We got to meet a neighbor who lived by the tree and shared some of the starfruit with him. Finally, I learned today that strangler figs actually make edible figs – and they’re quite tasty! I collected some of the tiny brown seedy sweet fruits and made some fig oatmeal cookies. The strangler fig in our yard is a grandfather tree and as the wind blows you can hear the tiny figs dropping to the ground to join the millions lying on the Earth. Abundant. (By the way, what you see in the photo is probably about a third of the amount we actually picked.)
It truly seems as though each week a new plant is fruiting and there are edible things all around. It is so intriguing and satisfying for me to get creative and find ways to make new dishes from funky fruits, or simply host a huge basket of fresh fruits on the counter that was picked in my neighborhood. As summer culminates this mid-August, I look forward to late summer plantings of vegetables, but I can’t help but be so grateful for those plants that fruit in this heat and I feel so provided-for.
As of today, we have quite a collection of small fruit trees in our urban homestead yard – mango, loquats, avocados, strawberry fruit tree, tamarind, papaya, starfruit, key lime, grapefruit… They aren’t producing yet (except the awesome strawberry fruit tree), but someday, they will be a huge source of food for whoever cares to climb their limbs and shake their branches. Who knows how some of the fruit trees we harvested from today got there, by planting or accident, but it is quite miraculous to live in a neighborhood with so many mature fruit trees. To me, it seems like every day should be arbor day. A high quality fruit tree costs anywhere from $50 to $100, and often less than that. Truly the best kind of investment, many families spend more than that on one trip to the grocery store. A fruit tree will give you more fruit than you and your family can eat at least once a year. I love the idea my parents practiced by planting a tree with the birth of their children: a maple for me and a holly for my brother. If they’d have known me better then, they might have planted a mango!