When I was a kid, we lived on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s a beautiful spot and back then there was no McDonalds or Walmart. You got your goodies at the Sunset Beach Store or Kammies. Mangoes, Avocados, Lychee, and other fruit came from your own tree, or your neighbor’s tree, or your Aunty’s tree. You would NEVER buy local produce, because it was always free. (On a side note, I remember when I moved to the big city in my 20s and had to buy my first avocado. I almost cried.)
Unfortunately, having so many fruit trees around also meant that your yard was littered with leaves. This is where free child labor comes in. Our mango, plumeria, and jabong trees were my mortal enemies. No matter how often I raked, there was always more to rake the next day.
Mango tree rubbish can be especially gross if you have rotten fruit that you’ve left festering in the sun. Thank goodness my dad was crazy and tried to make sure that not one mango fell to the ground. He would go out every day during mango season and stand on a wooden chair with his homemade picker, eyeing the ripeness of each piece of fruit. Whatever we couldn’t eat right away was made into jam or went to our neighbors and friends. Nothing was wasted.
Our Mango tree is currently flowering, which means “ono” fruit is right around the corner. So if you have any kids with too much free time on their hands, please feel free to send them to my house in Kona to rake and pull weeds. There’s always more work than helping hands.