a cornucopia of coconuts
Before coming to Puerto Rico, we never experienced the yummy goodness of fresh green coconuts. Chilled or over ice, the “water” inside of the coconut makes for a delicious and nutritious drink. The locals call it coco frio. The thin, soft fruit tastes good raw and even better toasted in the oven where it takes on a savory and slightly sweet flavor.
Despite the trees being ubiquitous and loaded down with coconuts where we live, we have yet to find a source to buy them from. They sell them chilled and cut open at the farmer’s market in Rincon for $2 each, but I would think they would be readily available unchilled and unopened for like a buck each.
For now, our primary source is what we find. Holly and I will occasionally come across a fallen coconut on the side of the road during our walks in the area around our condo. A couple of weeks ago, the boys and I came across the largest hoard we ever encountered on our way down to the beach. Some gusty winds had knocked several coconuts down from the extremely tall trees that hang over the road. Many of them had split open on impact, but we found five that were still intact.
Then two days later, when we were at Sandy beach in Rincón, the boys spotted three coconuts in a smaller tree. They were probably about 15 feet up. Desmond tried to climb the tree but was unable to get high enough. Then I grabbed a stick and poked at the coconuts futilely.
Finally, the moment Waylon had been preparing for arrived. Waylon has been a master climber for years. Back in San Antonio, Waylon could easily climb to the top of any pole using just his bare hands and feet. When we decided to move to Puerto Rico, we half jokingly told him that his job would be to collect the fruit from the coconut trees once we got to the island. Here was his chance.
Waylon took off his shoes and easily climbed all the way up to the coconuts.
He soon realized that getting up there was only half the battle. He tugged on one of the coconuts with one hand but it wouldn’t budge. After giving it all he had, he needed to come down and take a break. His legs got scratched up a bit from the bark on the tree. I told him we should go. “We can’t get them down without some kind of tool”, I said. He responded flatly, “I’m not leaving here without at least one coconut!”
He climbed back up the tree and again pulled on the coconut to no avail. Then, he started to twist it. Seeing what he was doing and impressed by his resourcefulness and tenacity, I moved under the coconut so I could catch it if it dropped. After about two full turns, it fell right into my hands! After a short break, Waylon climbed back up, releasing the other two coconuts.
The next day, Waylon told me his leg and abdominal muscles were sore. It’s amazing what this self-professed video game junky can do when he puts his mind to it!