As I drove home earlier this week, I noticed one of my neighbors set-up a table in front of their home piled with ripe mangoes. The table was a perfect height for anyone driving by to roll down their window and grab one. I noticed those were taking were also trading for what was ripe in their yards: bananas, passion fruit, avocados, etc. It was a great reminder of the kind of island we are so lucky to live on, where people still do things for others just to be nice.
This is the time of year when so much fresh produce, mangoes in particular, are bountiful. Many people (like my neighbors) who have mango trees growing in their yards, have more than they know what to do with. Islanders use them to make everything from mango salsa to smoothies and everything in between. The St. George Village Botanical Garden will soon be hosting its annual Mango Melee event July 6, at which you will find every plausible use of mango, including delicious cocktails. Local chefs will showcase their best mango recipes for attendees to taste in the Mango ‘Dis Mango ‘Dat Competition. Children and adults will partake in a mango-eating contest. Mangoes can be tricky to cut, so here’s a great video on an easy way to do so.
Another fruit currently in abundance is bananas. I know I’m not the only one with a freezer full, as our backyard trees produce so many ripe ones simultaneously. If you’re wondering how and when to harvest bananas, here’s a video on how the Dole company does it on our sister island, Costa Rica. Strange as it may seem, you need to cut down the banana tree after it fruits if you want it to produce again.
Passion fruit is another that we can’t seem to find enough uses for on St. Croix. My fence is covered in the beautiful vines, which also flower. The juice is healthy and delicious. A friend of mine makes delicious passion fruit bars (using a lemon bar recipe, like this one).
Ready to move where you can grow your own fruits and vegetables year-round?
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