Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cuckoo for Coconuts

Whilst walking about my neighborhood in Islamorada I happened upon a man taking down coconuts from a small coconut tree in someone's yard with a pruning saw.  He was commenting on how they looked pretty much perfect for harvesting.  Noticing that these coconuts were still mostly green, I assumed that he was hoping to extract the sweet water inside (I had learned about this after doing a report early in college on the uses of the coconut palm, though I had never tasted the water myself).  I struck up a conversation and sure enough, he had recently been introduced to coconut water and was now collecting the green fruits for their water whenever he had the opportunity.  He even had a coconut tapping tool from Australia that allowed him to easily make a small hole in the shell through which one can either drink directly or insert a straw and wonderfully tropical is that!?  It turned out that these folks were actually friends of Veronika's (our grounds manager at Kona Kai), so they invited me in and offered me a generous helping of coconut water, which I thoroughly enjoyed, especially chilled.  Coconut water is quite healthy (high in potassium) and safe to drink (it has been used safely many times as an intravenous hydration fluid when prepared IV solutions have not been available, such as in impoverished countries or during war).  A market in America for coconut water as a health/sports drink seems to be developing rapidly and it is sold in 11oz. containers for about $2 each.  That's funny to me because people in the Keys will pay you to take coconuts off their trees because of their potential danger to pedestrians/cars/delicate understory plants, etc. and the clutter they cause in nicely-manicured yards (you can't mow them over very well).  Hmmm....Kona Kai Resort, Gallery, Botanic Gardens and Coconut Cabana???

Rick Hederstrom
Associate Director

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