Moringa

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We have a number of Moringa trees on our property.  These trees grow very easily here.  They’re native to South Asia, and are a draught resistant plant.   You can eat everything on the moringa tree.  The leaves which are small and round are highly nutritious.  Eaten raw they have a peppery taste to them.  I like to put them in soup.  It’s a little tedious picking all the leaves off, and because they’re small you need a lot of them.  The leaves have the following nutrient value:

  • 9 times the protein of yogurt
  • 10 times the vitamin A of carrots
  • 15 times the potassium of bananas
  • 17 times the calcium of milk
  • 12 times the vitamin C of oranges
  • 25 times the iron of spinach

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The plant also has bean pods.  You can eat them when they’re smaller, just like a green beans, or if you wait until their slightly larger, you can eat only the inside of the bean as the outer shell becomes too fibrous.  It’s still really good this way, and in fact, I actually prefer them.

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skinny beans in the bucket, larger ones on the table

You can eat the Moringa flowers as well.  They can be eaten raw or  lightly cooked, but you can’t cook them too much as they lose their nutrient value.  Eat too many, and you might have to make several trips to the bathroom.  They too are quite nutritious.  They have a lot of calcium and potassium, and are known to reduce inflammation in the body.  The flowers can be made into a tea as well.  They’re also not supposed to be eaten if you’re pregnant, however they are good for nursing moms.  Always good to check these things out if you’re pregnant or nursing.

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And finally the bark, yes the bark can be used as well!  There are quite a number of medicinal uses for this as well.  There’s a process to make it into a paste.  I haven’t done that yet, and probably won’t until I do further research.  I have, however, eaten all the other things off the tree.  They’re also a really pretty tree, especially when it’s flowering.

Other happenings around the garden …

We picked the first red coffee beans, they’re in my in laws yard, but we’ll be getting ours very shortly as well.  So it’s officially staring our processing season.

And most exciting … I wrote a little about our dragon fruit, but the really exciting part is we have bees!!! Lots of bees.  I’m not sure if they’re coming from a neighbor who keeps bees or they’re wild, but they’re pollinating the flowers and doing a bang up job if I may so say myself!!

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all kinds of bees too.  I love having them around!

 

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Staycation Vacation

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I enjoy when visitors come although my in laws aren’t technically visitors since they have a home right next door to us.  They live in Seattle, so they’re not here all the time.  When they come, we still spend a lot of time doing home/farm stuff, but it also gives us an opportunity to do some exploring and relaxing.  So I took a couple of days off, and started the weekend early.  Wednesday night we saw Wonder Woman.  It was a good movie, but sadly after about 8:30 p.m., I can’t stay awake, good movie or not.  Thursday was spent doing house stuff and lounging by the pool.  Friday, we went up to Hawi and did a small hike (more like walk, it’s 3.5 miles round trip) to see the Mookini heiau and King Kamehameha’s birthplace.  The heiau is pretty spectacular.  It was a hot day, but we were fortunate it was overcast, otherwise it would’ve been very uncomfortable.  Saturday, we went to Kauanoa Beach at Mauna Kea.  It was beautiful, the water was warm, the ocean breezes blowing – it was perfection.  Then we went out to eat at the Fish and Hog, which was great, and then home for an afternoon nap. (okay I was the only one who napped, well me and the cat).  Tonight, we’ll have a campfire.

Why do I write about this?  There is so much to do around the farm, but I didn’t do much, and often times I feel guilty when I don’t take care of chores first.  But sometimes, you have to be the “chore”, you have to take care of you, and just do stuff that you want to do instead of stuff you have to do, or know you should do.  So it was great to just relax and enjoy the beauty of this island and the company of friends and family.  And, I did this without feeling guilty this time.  Okay, maybe just a little guilty, but I’m working on that.

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coffee and mulberry scones with a view for breakfast

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the pool

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evening fire at the pit

Dragon Fruit

It’s dragon fruit season or as I like to refer to them as – “fruit of the dragon”.  A little homage to Game of Thrones I guess, plus it just sounds so much more exotic.  Last season, we didn’t get a very large harvest which I believe has a lot to do with our lack of bees.  This year, however, looks a little better, and we’re seeing bees on the flowers which is great.

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, comes in different colors and varieties.  We have two varieties, one that is white inside and one that is deep purple.  For those who haven’t had, the closest comparison in taste and consistency would be something like a kiwi.  They’re especially good cold, and in this hot dry summer they will be a welcome treat.

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In the basket above, most of them are white inside.  The fruit that is in the middle with longer green “leaves/petals” and that is slightly darker looking is dark purple inside.  The purple ones also tend to be slightly small in size.

The other thing that is ripening now are our mangoes.  Mangoes may just be my favorite fruit of all time, and I like a lot of fruit.  We cover our mangoes with a small netted bag to keep fruit flies from enjoying them before we get a chance ourselves.  We have a number of different varieties.

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The above bowl has three different varieties – manzanilla (dark red on the right originated from Mexico), R2E2 (top light colored, Australian variety), and rapoza (left hand side, it’s a local cross mango).  The R2E2 although cultivated in Australia, has its origins from the Kent mango grown in Florida.  The Manzanillo mango is thought to have originated from a Haden mango seedling, although, they look quite different from the Haden.  They were introduced into Hawaii around 1978.  Rapoza’s were cultivated from an Irwin avocado in the mid 70’s at the University of Hawaii.  I have to say they’re all good.  I definitely can tell a bad mango when I taste one, but when it comes to good mangoes, all of the above are great, and I can’t tell the difference in taste between any of the above.  My husband probably could, however.

I see a lot of tangerines and oranges on the tree, although I’d say they’re probably a few months away from harvesting.  It is a hot dry dry summer.  Our lawn is getting brown and crunchy which is something we haven’t seen for many years.  We’re on catchment, which means our water source is from rain.  Our tank is a little below half, so we’re more conscious of our water usage – shorter showers, no washing cars, etc.  Hurricane Fernanda is now a tropical storm and I’m hoping we feel some rain from the remnants of it this weekend, but it looks like it may miss us completely.

Blogging …

My intention when I first started blogging was purely to document our farm – understanding its cycles, what produces when and what grows well and doesn’t.  But then as I read other blogs I decided to make mine public as well with the intention of updating weekly.  How hard can it be to sit down at my computer and type once a week about happenings in the farm.  There is actually a lot of stuff going on so there is plenty of material to write about.  But alas, theory and practice are always different, and it’s been more challenging than I thought.  Truth be told, it’s not that hard if I just make a commitment.  It is interesting to note, if you look at some of the blogs I follow, many if not most haven’t kept up with theirs either.   So I know I’m not alone in my efforts.  But I’m going to recommit to at minimum weekly blogging (along with other commitments, 10K steps a day, daily exercise, limiting processed and sugary foods … the list could go on).

So today … FIGS

 

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We planted a number of fig trees a few years ago, but the birds always get to most of them before we do, and our yield hasn’t been large.  This year, however, is a different story.  Our figs are going off, and we have lots of them.  We have many different varieties, blue mountain, brown turkey, Kadota, and small honey figs.  The picture above shows the small honey figs, brown turkey, and the Kadota.  We have more varieties, but we haven’t done a good job of remembering what they are (hence the idea of the blog to keep track of these things when we get them).  All the figs are really good, but those small honey figs are so so sweet, they’re to die for.  This year we placed bird repellant discs on the fig trees in an effort to divert birds. We have a few different types, and they all seem to be working well.  We ordered ours from Amazon.

 

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This year we planted number of European figs in a newer section of the garden.  They’re too young to produce at this time, but the trees are growing well, and we might get some next year.  We planted black Madeira Portuguese figs, honey sweet fig – a dark Portuguese variety, blue mountain, Genovese Nero fig, and a variety of a giant fig.  We’ll see what variety does well, and plant more of those.   On the Big Island there are 10 of the 13 climate zones located here.  We live in a Mediterranean region here along this section of the Hamakua coast.  Although it’s not a true Mediterranean climate, the classification is close, so we fit into it.  Figs should do well in this region, and this year it appears that is true.