For breakfast today, I ate some golden stars. I remember the first time I ate star fruit. Russell Down took me to one of the abandoned “camps” of the sugar workers near Pahala, Hawaii where he was a doctor at the hospital run by the C.Brewer sugar plantation. The company had moved all the workers into town. The old, charming green board and batten houses had been lifted and brought into town as well, closely clustered around the cranky, clanking sugar mill. But the fruit trees, so lovingly tended by those workers–Japanese and Philippine mostly–the trees were left behind in the camps up the slopes of Mauna Loa.
Russell took me to the old “Japanese Camp.” Locals, including a small group of what would loosely be called “hippies,” knew where all the good fruit trees were in the district. And Russell, though a doc working for C.Brewer, hung out mainly with the out of town crowd and had been introduced to the local hunter-gatherer economy.
We found a star fruit tree, with dead ripe fruit on it. I remember standing by the tree, eating the fruit, so lovely in form and color, so gently sweet in taste. Welcome to off-the-grid Hawaii. Last week, I discovered a beautiful star fruit in the nearby produce stand here in Largo, Florida. I bought it and have watched it ripen into perfection. This morning I sliced it open. Sweet fruit. Sweet memories.
Fruit is best eaten locally and in season. And it is particularly sweet when eaten from the tree, with thanks given to those who planted it, tended it, loved it. There are many stars in this life. Today’s is a golden fruit from Florida.