Coming back from a holiday people tend to reflect on all the things their destination had which you can’t get back home: the glorious weather, the white beaches, the clear blue seas. Coming back from St Lucia one of the things I missed bitterly was the fruit.
Lets begin by saying that St Lucia (and the Carribbean in general) is absolutely stunning.
The tropical climate means glorious, hot sunshine all year round, interrupted by bucket loads of rain that arrives without warning. As in, you’ll be on the brink of falling asleep under the warm rays when suddenly you’re being attacked by a deluge! But the result is one seriously lush island absolutely bursting with fruit. Mangoes you pay through the nose for in your local super market are just lying around on the side of the road. Locals take them for granted as an everyday occurrence whilst we were stopping to collect them and pile them up into our car!
Every fruit imaginable that you or I would consider exotic is available in abundance in St Lucia, and one clever chap decided to cash in on that novelty with the tourists! Known only as ‘The Fruit Man’ he comes tootling along the shore everyday in his barely sea-worthy boat, blowing into a conch shell to get the attention of holiday makers.
People meet him to buy coconuts, bananas, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, star fruit, mango, melon… you name it he’s got it!
We asked him where he gets all his fruit from; and he collects it from around the island, simple as that! Don’t you wish you could just pop outside your front door for a bunch of bananas? My (Welsh) mother also asked why he had every flag on his boat except a Welsh one. He said if she brings him one he’ll add it to the collection and give her a prize… we’re pretty certain the prize will be fruit related.
One of the most popular fruits on the island is the coconut. You’ll see trucks piled high with them lining the roads, waiting to be chopped open with a machete. Fresh coconut water has got to be one of the most refreshing drinks going, I love it!
I never knew how versatile a coconut was until I was out there. In its green stage, before it’s fully ripened into the brown coconut we all know, there’s this jelly inside which you can scoop out and eat.
I gave it a go but it wasn’t my favourite. The coconut man’s comment probably had something to do with that:
“The ladies don’t end to like the jelly as much, it reminds them of something else.”
The traditional brown coconut however is the most delicious thing. I know so many people that complain they dislike coconut, not for the taste but the texture. St Lucian coconuts completely lack that dry, bittiness though. It’s just perfectly crunchy and refreshing.
I’m sure when I do my food shop I’ll spend far too long scrutinising the price of the fruit and moaning at how I was picking it up off the road for free just a week ago. Boo hoo!