With most of the farms and markets closed for the summer, the fruit trees in our neighborhood are seeing us through. I already told you about the mangoes, but the harvest began at the end of June with a hippie in dreadlocks pilfering a tree around the corner. Cooper and I were on our way to the beach when we saw him plucking giant raspberries off the tree with a dental pick made for a giraffe. The tool was a long bamboo stick fastened with a thick wire hook on the end, and the fruit were lychees.
The Lychee tree is one of those things that has been around me for years, yet somehow I never noticed it. There are three huge, lush trees just one street over, and for about a month a year, they are covered in hundreds of fuchsia lychees. In season, the trees are striking; I’m surprised at myself for missing them all these years…and for forgetting to take a picture this year.
I remember buying a few from Peter at the Downtown Farmers Market a while back but not knowing how to eat them or what to do with them. I suppose I was hoping John, the Florida boy, would know what to do with them. The hard, spiky rind was intimidating, but now that I’ve gotten to the inside, the texture is soft and juicy like a skinless grape. The flesh tastes tropical, like a passion fruit but without being gooey. And there’s a big, brown seed in the center, but don’t eat that.
On our way back from the beach, Cooper asked if we could stop off to get some lychees. We knocked but no one was home. Oh well, that’s that…so I thought. When I went to walk Luke, Cooper followed with our big, bright orange citrus picker. So there we are-Luke rolling in the grass, me holding the bag, and Cooper with the overly obvious picker poking at the lychee tree-and here comes the owner of the house…how embarrassing. I apologized immediately, and she was…polite. Cooper? He wanted me to get out another bag.
My embarrassment faded and the experience broke me in for this month’s treat – longans. We’ve changed our walking route so we can snack midway. Although longan are good, my best description for them is that they’re a lesser lychee. Longans are smaller and less flavorful but still refreshing during a hot walk, and both fruit are a good source of Vitamin C.
If the weird fruit isn’t doing it for you, there are only nine days left until Jessica’s Organic Farm Stand reopens.