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Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Posted by ohiojay z6 OH (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 14, 11 at 21:44

Guess I am going to be the first to post about the PR trip. Another highly successful rare fruit hunt is behind us. Bellies are full. Cravings are curbed.

In attendance this year was Ethan, Sheehan, Warren, PJ, Noel Ramos, Gwenn and Ray. Gerry and Harry could not make it this year. Their wit, knowledge, and sarcasm was sorely missed. Sheehan stepped up to the plate and entertained us all with nursery stories and internet nightmares. To say the lad has too much time on his hands would be an understatement.

No "Assault on the Fruits of Puerto Rico" this time. It turns out that there were some folks at the University of PR that was a bit sensitive and completely mistook the content of Ethan's write-up last year. Their loss. Maybe next time they will join in on the conversations and ask for clarification before running off and complaining.

It was a jam packed week for sure. I left Sunday morning for Miami to spend the day with Warren. I got to check out his collection of rare fruit trees and see how his dragan fruit school project was progressing. One can't be in Florida and not stop by Harry's place. I always wondered how the hell he can pack so many plants in a little over two acres. The answer is very well. An impressive spread and impressive collection. Harry was the kind host and sat Warren and I down to a mango sampling. Hands down...the pickering was a winner. We then stopped by Noel Ramos' place. Noel is one of the big Annona guys in south Florida. One of his claim to fame fruits are the Big Red sugar apples. Lord are these delicious and beautiful too. He showed us his many trees which included many annonas, jacks, and abius. Next stop was Jeff Hagen place. Talk about a jungle! This guy has some really cool stuff! Plants freaking everywhere. So if you are looking for something odd or something not so odd, give him a shout. I picked up a grafted Big Red. Had to, ya know? So thanks to all of you above. I have pictures of Harry's in the link below.

Early Monday Warren, Noel, PJ, Sheehan, and I caught an early flight together for San Juan. We pretty much dominated the flight swapping stories, laughing out loud, and of course giving loads of crap to Sheehan. I think we had people several rows back trying to lean in and listen to our conversations. The flight seemed to be over as soon as it started. We got our van, picked out our California dude Ethan and it was off to the pork highway. We stopped at the same place that Andrew Zimern ate at. Everything was delicous. What a great way to start off the trip. The scenery was beautiful and the people all friendly. Pics of this also in the link. The ride in the van was interesting to say the least. The conversations were not for the faint of heart nor for children under 18. I don't think any of us have laughed so hard and so often in quite sometime. No one was spared...although the bulk went to Sheehan as it should.

Tuesday we met up with Sadhu for a tour of TARS. Tropical Agriculture Research Station. Wonderful place. Let's hope the USDA continues to fund it. Great trees and some great fruit. Their madronos were gorgeous. Sadhu was a real treat. Good humor, patience...which was quite necessary with six guys with A.D.D.(the tropical fruit version) running around the grounds. We hung out with him a while and he then joined us for lunch for more good times. A big thanks for his time and expertise. We boot scooted and boogied to Jardines Eneida...a big nursery selling grafted trees at insanely cheap prices. We met up with Gwenn and Ray there. Everyone snatched up some cool plants. The van looked like a jungle...plants were everywhere.

Wednesday everyone met up at Ian's place. Juan Miranda, another rare fruit and tropicals farmer in the area joined us for the tour. As always, Ian was the awesome host and tour guide. Non-stop narrations of the farm and hundreds of interesting stories. We had access to all kinds of fruit and could eat our fill...rollinia, marang, durian, pulasan, mangosteen, rambutan, abiu, stuff I can't even remember the names of. Many were first time fruiting so it was a treat for all including Ian himself. We took a break and Ian have refreshments, fruit, and meat and cheese trays set out for us. A big thanks to Robert and Ian's other main guy on the farm for helping out. The durian was fantastic as was all the other fruit. The weather once again was beautiful and allowed us to access all areas of the farm...those near vertical slopes included. It seemed like the more vertical the slope where the tree was planted, the better the fruit was. Maybe because of the difficulty of reaching them. The farm was breath taking in more ways than one. It was work going up and down those hills. Back to the shelter for more fruit, drinks, and laughter. The rain finally made an appearance. We had stayed into the afternoon and everyone was bushed. Luckily we had no other tours scheduled. Later that night we met Ian for a wonderful dinner. Hell of a guy.

Thursday found us lost in the mountains. Stupid Garmon. Sheehan's GPS phone was no help either. In between catching a cell phone signal, we managed to find our way to Sherry's place. Once again, a big spread of fruit was waiting for us. Felipe was there and joined us for her tour. Sherry is a sweatheart and wonderful host. Her trees are awesome. We all got to try the Amazon tree grape for the first time. May not have been as ripe as it could have been. Not real impressed.

We left Sherry's and followed Felipe back to his place for a tour. As always...his trees and fruit are impressive. When we came upon his garcinias...especially the achachairu, we were into that tree like starving monkeys. Amazing fruit. We also sampled many g. magnifolia and madrono. 86 years old and hasn't lost a step in those hills. He can still wear down Sheehan! Later that evening was another dinner with Ian. More great food. Back at the hotel, we shared some fruit, including durian, with the hotel staff. That was fun.

Friday was another morning of running around the mountains not knowing where the hell we were at or where the hell we were going. Cell phone coverage sucked but we finally met up with Gwenn and Ray at Juan Miranda's place. He's done a lot of new work out there and it is really looking good. Unfortunately his fabulous marang and pulasan did not fruit this year. We picked up some beautiful seedling plants. Keep your eyes open for updates...Juan will soon be grafting durian, rambutan, and pulasan and will ship.

That afternoon was filled by packing fruit and seeds to send home. We also bare rooted and packed up all our plants. What a pain bare rooting is!

We did not make it to Bryan Brunner's farm Saturday morning as planned. A few of the guys wasn't feeling all that great, and we still had lots of plant and fruit packing to do. Gwenn and Ray were still planning on meeting up with him so hopefully that all worked out.

That's all for now. Here's a link to my album. All the sub albums will be found on the right side of the screen.

Here is a link that might be useful: PR photo album

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Great pictures and descriptions. It looks like you can grow about anything tropical you want in PR. Thanks for sharing.

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

  • Posted by pj1881 10a PBC Fla. (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 15, 11 at 0:08

Thanks for putting the trip together Jay!
The trip was amazing!

More pics

Here is a link that might be useful: Puerto Rican Steamer Tour 2011

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Thanks for the kind shout out jay. great report and pics- sounds like u had a blast. wish i could have been there. sheehan should def do a one man stand up tour. i trust he was not allowed within 15 feet of the van keys.
hope to make it next year.

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Sounds like another great trip. Was the achachairu better than the magnifolia and madrono?

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Rambutan at the grocery store in Mayaguez:

Taking boxes from a homeless man:

Jay picking a marang:

Durian tree loaded with fruit:

Lots of pulasan on the trees:

More pulasan:

Rollinia opened up:

A mangosteen with gamboge:

A ripe durian that cracked open:

Some fruit on a bench:


A noni:




Garcinia spp:

I think this is Garcinia magnifolia:

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Impressive shots, but I expected less pants on and more body glitter.

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

  • Posted by newgen 9 Central California (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 15, 11 at 1:41

What a great description! Thanks for all the photos. Sounds like way too much fun. When you guys ship plants and fruits to the US, was there lots of red tape to cut through? What kind of forms do you need? CA is so strict.

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Not sure about the extra restrictions if any to CA but to FL we have to bare root all the trees.

Only certain fruits are permitted to leave the island. We had a list that told us which fruit were allowed and only brought those.

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Oh crap!!! Completely forgot that Robert was not able to join us either this year! Sorry dude! I was operating on about 3 hrs of sleep in two days and was fading fast while writing. We didn't have anyone to carry large fruit up the hills!

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

It was as beautiful as ever there and this time we added the lechonerias to the trip. Some of the highlights for me, lots of new fruits to try and more of the great ones from last year. One of the gents that came along has family in PR and offered history and background on many aspects of PR living. Not to mention he spoke fluent (Caribbean) Spanish and me living in CA I hear Mexican Spanish all the time but they do have subtle differences. The best meals we ate (to me) were at Siglo XX (Signal 20) just around the corner from our hotel. Excellent, authentic PR cooking, one treat was breadfruit tostones, mmmm. The people at the Howard Johnson's in Mayaguez were very kind and helpful, not to mention they enjoyed all the strange fruits we shared with them (and a few guests nearby).

We toured the USDA facility in PR, what a beautiful compound, nice people, with an amazing collection of trees. To top it off, we had Sadhu touring the grounds with us, sorta like having Phil Mickleson playing miniature golf with you. Very informative to say the least.

All the farms we visited were amazing, beautiful fruit trees surrounded by lush landscapes punctuated with vibrant heliconias and gingers. The people and their employees were very kind and generous with their time. I think like many of us, they enjoy showing off their collections even though their collections cover acres.

As for bringing stuff back, there is a long list of what is allowed with inspection. I had plans of bringing fruits back to a friend of mine who brings me fruit from the OC but did not want to deal with any inspections or delays that might make my 15+ hours of travel any more difficult. So in the end, the ladies that clean the hotel room will be enjoying a few more strange fresh fruits.

boy I sure could use a bite of durian now,

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Seriously yummy trip. And it was fun to meet all of you guys.
Thanks for setting it up and letting us tag along. I have never eaten so many different fruits. My first time tasting marang, durian, pulasan,engkala and a few others.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was watching Warren devour the durian. It is so great to see someone really enjoy something so intensely!
Ian was an amazing host, so generous with his time and fruits. Just an amazing day there. Can't say enough good things about the experience. We brought some of the fruit home for our friends to try and they loved them also.
Juan's farm has grown and he is getting into grafting...which is good news for everyone. We got a longer tour/tasting than the others (who got really lost). Juan is such a nice guy and he has a pretty farm. Amazing one guy takes care of it all.
We went to Montoso garden on Saturday. We met up with David (Brian's twin) and he gave us a tour of the place. We saw more ornamentals than fruit on this tour, but we did get to try engkala and a few other things. So many neat things there. I was hoping to get some clove trees, but he was sold out, but we got a number of rare palms and some cinnamon trees. David is contemplating grafting again because of reduced ornamental sales due to the economy. We can hope.
By the end of the trip, we couldn't see out the car windows as we had so many plants in it!

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

  • Posted by jun_ 8b-9a (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 15, 11 at 21:17

the fruits look so yummy. I can only dream. thanks for the post.


RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

How where the Rambutan? I had some recently that I bought in China town in NYC and they were pretty bad. Sort of tasted a bit like grapes to me. Is that how they taste or did I just find bad ones. I ended up throwing most of them away along with all of the Longans that I bought.

I am determined to make the trip next year if you guys go again.

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

There were several different cultivars available. Some were better than others and I couldn't tell you now which was which. Usually the ones that were deep red...even the spines, were the best flavored. I do remember one cultivar at Juans that was pretty good. R167.

If pulasan was nearby, most of us went for that over the rambutan. I do remember a few trees at Ians where the rambutan was really excellent.

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn


RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

how does a trip like this come about? how does one join (not that i can afford a ticket)?

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn

Thanks for sharing :-)

RE: Puerto Rico Trip #3 - Fruit Porn for a comparison between achachairu, magnifolia, and madrono, I still favor achachairu. Magnifolia and madrono seem to have a shorter shelf life than achachairu with magnifolia the worst. The flesh starts to shrink a lot faster after hitting it's peak. Don't get me wrong, these two are very good at their peak.

The enormous leaves of the magnifolia set it apart from many other garcinias. Quite impressive when you take in the entire tree. Felipe has a great collection of garcinias. Some are so-so while others just plain bad.

This trip introduced a lot of "firsts" for all of us. I've tried to remember all the fruits we tried and it is hopeless.

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