We spent the mid-day at the Tropical Macadamia Nut Farm, taking the tour and seeing the sights. This farm raises macadamia nuts, a lot of the cut flowers for the local area - heleconia, red ginger, and flowering banana in particular - and also has a brackish-water tidal fish farm. We had a quick demonstration of how to make fire with monkeypod wood, how to de-husk and break open a coconut, and some fire staff spinning. During the demonstration stop, we were the only English speakers. The rest of the 20-plus people there were from a Korean honeymoon tour.
I took plenty of photos, so hopefully a few good ones will come out.
Things I learned:
The farm is situated on 4,400 acres that was originally the training ground for King Kamehameha's warriors, then was sold as a plantation. It is now a mixed-crop farm and tour ground, along with the rental site for weddings and a long list of TV shows ans movies. Everything from Gilligan's Island to 50 First Dates had scenes shot on the grounds of this farm.
There were a lot of feral chickens cleaning up the fallen nuts and fruit. They enjoyed the shaved coconut too. I got a cute photo of a chicken with four of her chicks right by the main tourist center. Chickens can also fly straight up for almost 30 feet.
Ti plants are grown for their leaves. Red ti leaves are used in medicine, while the green ones are used for both cooking wraps and decorations.
Heleconia flowers can hold their water (and therefore stay fresh) for almost a month.
Tapioca plants look like marijuana plants but with red stems and they grow up bushy like a natural poinsettia.
Flowering banana plants do produce bananas, but the inside is basically all seed.
Apple bananas are the tiny sweetest bananas.
Banana trees only produce fruit once. They mature in about 9 months. They also put out runners to sprout new plants, so the farmers will cut down the finished tree to encourage the next tree to mature.
A ripe coconut will slosh when you shake it.
Coconut milk will separate into coconut oil in about five days.
Papaya and coconut plants fruit continually.
Guava fruits twice a year.