This is our second visit to Maui and honestly, I don’t remember seeing even one citrus tree the last time I was here.
Although we’re staying in the same general area–upcountry Haiku in the north, central, non-touristy part of the island–we’re in a more rural neighborhood. And we are seeing orange, tangerine, and lemon trees in front yards and back yards all over the place.
Two days ago some tangerines were literally dripping from a tree over the fence of someone’s backyard, and I yelled “STOP,” to The Sweetie so I could go over and yank two off the tree. I have no idea if I’m a citrus criminal in Maui’s eyes, but I am feisty and shameless about this sort of thing. Fortunately I didn’t get caught and we ate one right away, still sun-warm and oozing juice, the most deliciously sweet and flavor-packed tangerine I’ve ever tasted. (The second one is pictured below and we are looking forward to eating it today.)
It seems like the GPS takes us past the same tree every time we return to our rental cottage, so yesterday I greedily stopped to
pluck off some more, but they were all too high up reach.
A friendly Hawaiian man strumming his guitar, with an adorable puppy sniffing around his feet, asked if he could help. I explained my quest with some embarrassment and he suggested I knock on the door and see if anyone was home.
A young Asian woman came to the door looking rather sleepy, and I asked if I could buy some tangerines. I apologized and admitted that I hadn’t been able to resist taking a few the other day and thought they were superb. She said that they eat the tangerines themselves, but asked it I’d like some pomelos. “Sure, ” I said, trying to mask my disappointment about the tangerines and not really knowing if I wanted pomelos or not.
I climbed a children’s jungle-gym near the very tall pomelo tree and tried to reach some of the huge yellowish fruits, but they were all way out of my reach. The woman came over with a long pole with a basket and hooks at the end and yanked 3 from the tree. One crashed onto the ground so hard that it split open. She didn’t know how old the tree was because she inherited it with the house. Nice inheritance, I way, the gift that keeps on giving…
She sent us home with three of various sizes in a bag that easily weighed ten pounds. The pomelos ranged in size from a very large grapefruit to a papaya, about 9 inches tall and 7 inches wide.
I’m not sure if this was my first pomelo, but it certainly was the most delicious blend of sweet and tart grapefruit I’ve even eaten.
I’ll planning to keep my eyes out as we’re driving around. Who knows what other citrus epiphanies lie ahead.