Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mystery Fruit - 4

I have to say, I first tasted this fruit about 12 years ago, and was instantly hooked on it..

Unfortunately they are a rare breed, and I only got to sample them a couple of times back then.. however, fortunately, I am now in a situation with a relative abundance of them, and they are most surely one of my current favourite fruits.. probably among my top 5, along with durian, chempadek, white sapote and abiu.. but i'm sure if i think about it, i've probably got way more than 5 fruits in my top 5..

the mind boggles..

Anyhows, any guesses what it's called?

Friday, January 08, 2010


We are currently staying on some land owned by a guy named Clinton, who primarily lives in Adelaide, but travels up here every few weeks to check up on the place.

The property has been christened Fruitopia, and is located just on the outskirts of a town called Mareeba, up on the "Tablelands" of Tropical Far North Queensland.. (North Eastern Australia)..

Swimming hole at fruitopia (click to enlarge)

Clinton had a vision of himself walking along rows of fruit trees, and eating/living off their multivarieted fruit offerings, and fruitopia is the child of that vision.

I'm unsure how many acres, this land covers.. possibly 100(?), and one side of it is bordered by an all year around flowing creek, which is, I believe, called Granite Creek, but again, that's not a statement originating from certainty..

Probably over half of the land, is already taken over by fruit trees (and the relentless weeds that grow around and between them!).. they are laid out in a pretty conventional line after line style, with a certain degree of intermingling of species, but mostly similar tree types all in a row.. All up, I am told there are over 2000 fruit trees out in the orchard, many of which I do not recognise.. Perhaps I would, if they were fruiting, but without the fruit on them, I lack the experience to do so..

I am uncertain how many different types of fruit are out there.. but for sure, a good deal more than most other farms would have, with fruiting Akee, peanut butter fruit, white sapote, ice-cream beans, ceylone olive (not an olive at all - tastes more like stewed apple with a hint of liquorice!), pawpaws, mangoes, passion fruit, jackfruit, guavas of various sorts, bananas and more.. and that's just whats currently on.. there're also black sapote, mame sapote, various types of exotic cherries, avocados, pineapples, i'm told there's a durian out there somewhere although the climate isn't quite ideal for them here, ankola (a sort of pink fleshed avocado), canistel, carambola, wax jambu, heaps of lychee trees, and I guess that's just the tip of the ice-berg..

"Tropical Fruit World" down in NSW, close to the Queensland border, claim to have the largest selection of tropical fruit in the world.. A bold statement, that may well be the truth.. Clinton boldly claims that he will eventually have even more than the they do, but unless he can attract more people here, I personally doubt that that will be the case.. Still, I've got to give the guy credit, he has managed to do most of what's been done here in the space of the last 6 years, when he first bought the property together with a guy named Eddie, who's an old friend of mine, pretty much the only fruit trees on the land were a few rows of lychees, and 3 giant mango trees near the main old house.. and everything else has been planted since that time.. So I'd love for him to prove me wrong..

I gather the previous owners were tobacco growers, or at least that's what the history of this land is.. Basically year in and year out of the same monocrops, which over the decades would have surely depleted the soil, making it really not suitable to grow anything, so they've chosen to bring in tonnes of fertilizers of various sorts..

The farm is certified organic.. organic it may be, but the stuff they spread everywhere under the trees is animal based waste products.. Quite recently a couple of tonnes of some kind of chicken shit blood and bone pellet mix was smeared everywhere (stuff stank pretty badly), followed by the spraying of some equally offensive smelling fine mist made from some kind of rotten fish paste..

Palm trees at Frutopia

But I guess this is the current nature of the world we live in, and whether or not things are organic, spray free, or chemically enhanced, or not, I'm sure one could always spot reasons why something wasn't ideal.. In fact, it's difficult to not question the environmental ethics of every item of food out there, whether it be the frozen chunk of factory animal flesh, or the ripe and ready organic mango.. Sadly, both will likely be tainted..(although obviously one far more than the other!)

That's why I'm personally into the whole vegan organic permaculture type food growing thing, better and more briefly known as "vegeculture".. I see the ideal situation for the world, is that we each have our own small parcel of land that we care take, and grow our food on, in such a way that biodiversity is encouraged.. no line after line of monocrops.. especially not annuals.. and ultimately not really even any need for irrigation.. I'm convinced that such small manageable chunks of land, could easily be maintained with minimal effort.. managing weed growth ultimately through thick layers of nutritionally life giving mulch for the trees, with the added bonus functionality of preventing the soil from drying out, and weeds growing back, thus reducing the need to water profusely as is often the sad case..

But that's for the future me I guess.. I give myself permission to dream on while waiting, sometimes impatiently, for our envisioned home to manifest itself.. Meanwhile, I am stuck with this earthly body that unfortunately still requires food and faced with the choices I have, there is always compromises..

Of the fruit available around this area, I'm sure Fruiotopia is likely to have the history I would feel most comfortable in supporting.. (perhaps it is a sort of blessing that I don't know too much of the history of more conventionally reared and commercially available crops)..

Anyhow.. Fruitopia.. yes.. it's where we landed on arrival, and we are still here.. Although desperately desiring our own private and affordable place to live..

For others that like the sound of this place, - home of the recent 801010 raw gathering, then I reckon it'd be a great place for many to visit and ultimately possible live.. The back of the farm is basically still wild grass and ultimately available to live on.. I believe Clinton may have long term plans to subsection the rear wilderness, and get some people to live out there.. (it borders the creek there!)..


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Just fruit.. No nuts, seed, roots or greens..

That's the kind of fruitarianism I'm ultimately in to.. I've been able to pull it off pretty consistently since joining up with Kveta back in 2006, although there were definitely times that the all fruit diet was my diet for extended periods, prior to us getting together..

Meeting up with Harley, Freelea and others recently, it has really made me aware of occasional divergence in consistencies.. Inconsistencies I don't want hidden..

I've been calling myself fruitarian for many years already, even at times when I may have forsaken my beliefs and picked at the occasional steamed potato or piece of broccoli.. Other times, too, I would be on an all raw vegan diet, with a high fruit percentage, but include some carrot or lettuce, dried seaweed or similar .. I make no real excuses, other than struggling to live on a budgeted existence where I often considered fruit to be unaffordable..

Perhaps I was just using budget and a shoestring lifestyle as an excuse to hang on to old habits that morally and from a physiological health point of view, I didn't consider ideal, but for whatever other reasons, I still found appealing..

I became aware that fruit was the ideal food probably in the early 1990's, and dreamt of myself living purely on fruits, despite putting myself in geographical positions where pulling my dream off, would have surely at times required me to often go hungry.. Something I didn't feel quite prepared to do.. So compromise I did.. And it certainly seemed like compromise was a necessity at many times..

I guess I've long been the philosophiser.. Questioning things that most people take unquestioningly for granted.. And often wondering if there is perhaps a better way to do things.. At times I'm quite saddened by how much madness, sickness and suffering this world has, and see much of it as self inflicted through ignorance..

Through my recent encounter with a few 801010ers that passed through this place we're currently staying at, especially, I guess, Harley, who has a challenging personality.. and Freelea and Nick, who I felt were ultimately more curious than critical (I consider questioning anothers principles to be a healthy way to understand ones own better).. I became more conscious of small irregularities, and his challenging ways have encouraged and inspired me to make improvements.

I guess, we presented ourselves as fruitarians that eat solely fruit and nothing else, and by doing so, we opened ourselves up for critisism.. I was asked how long I'd been doing just fruit, and replied basically, consistently, since getting together with Kveta, and Harley, who had heard that ABC radio interview with me from a year and a half ago, queried yes, but that's not strictly true though is it? .. For a sec, I was a little confused, but then recalled that I had confessed to munching on the occasional pea or 2.. Clearly legumes are not fruits, - fruits being the edible flesh that surrounds the seed of the plant, and he's right.. The true fruitarian diet doesn't involve eating seeds unless they are intricately entwined together with the appealing edible flesh that surrounds it.. as is the case with the tomato, kiwi, passion fruit, etc..

So, do I have to reevaluate how long I have been fruitarian? Part of me wants to get the facts right, and part of me wants to cling to being the long term fruitarian I consider myself to be.. I mean, botanically speaking, I believe we are all frugivorous, whether we realise and practise it or not, but words are important to me, and clearly the term fruitarian isn't being used here to describe ones anatomical structure..

So what's the deal with the peas? Well.. I guess it's confession time.. it hasn't been just peas.. Since arriving in Australia, I have eaten several things that botanically speaking are not fruit, and thus, in my own thoughts are not 100% ideal.. But then I confess also that much of my very existence on this plane goes against what I feel is ethically correct, and environmentally responsible.. I could make excuses until the fat lady sings for the cows to return home to be eaten.. But to what end?

I know that life on this level, on this planet, is full of compromise to my ultimate aspiring beliefs.. But despite fighting what many might consider a relentless futile uphill struggle toward improvement and seemingly unobtainable perfection, I believe that the struggle is ultimately for the benefit of all earthly existence.. And will strive onward questioning the very nature of our beings..

So what else have I eaten? I'm probably about to burst my own bubble, I'm sure many would love to hear, and use it as evidence to support their possibly already preconceived impossibility of a fruit only diet..

In addition to peas, I have also eaten broad beans, many of both, by the way, grown by myself in the little garden we only recently said goodbye to.. but that's no excuse.. I ate them. Yes.. I also confess to occasionally picking at leaves of various sorts.. Like if I walked passed a big display of rocket, I might pull one leaf out, and chew slowly on it.. or snap off a tiny piece of broccoli from the broccoli stall, munching on it in passing.. Or, and this was probably more common, if I passed a small wild growing edible weed, I might often tell someone I was with at the time, that this plant is edible, and break of a leaf or 2 to share, probably mostly always chewing on a leaf or 2 myself..

And the last non fruit I ate? Standing in the garden, here, where we are now at, Nick asked me if I had tried sweet leaf. I told him I used to eat it profusely, but stopped doing so, and yet still, I stood next to him, broke a leaf off, and chewed and swallowed it.. I guess I felt it was to give me a small reminder of the taste. I found it vaguely palatable, but not particularly appealing.. That was barely 2 weeks ago.. But also, on the way up here, we stopped off to admire some sea view, I think it was pretty close to that "Big mango" place, which is in Bowen, I think, but I could be remembering incorrectly, anyhows, irrelevant that is, the point was that at this place, we bumped in to a Ute (which for those of us unfamiliar with Australian slang is basically a "utility truck", just a small open backed truck) full of Islanders, Fijians, I think, that had been denutting some local coconut palms, and had a Ute load of nuts.. They offered us some, and thirsty I was, so I drank of one they opened for us.. (the first sip on one since Thailand 2006)..

Now, coconuts are one thing that I sort of felt OK about eating, despite thems being nuts and all that, and not fruit.. But deep down, I was aware that they are not ideal.. I guess equally so for sugarcane juice, which at times in my life I've truly feasted upon.. When I used to live up this ways, some 10 and more years ago, freshly pressed sugar cane feasts were a semi regular occurrence..

But back to the coconut.. I carried it with us and cracked it open on arrival here, with keen anticipation and hopes that it might be jelly like.. Again, coconuts have been at times a staple part of my diet.. basically a free and abundant food I endulged regularly in.. This nut was hard though, and I left it on the table in the communal kitchen where it was soon devoured by someone..

So.. am I done confessing? I reckon so.. that's about the brunt of it.. So go ahead and tell me I've been fruitarian for 2 weeks.. I guess at the end of the day, perhaps I shouldn't even really bothered about being attached to the label..

But now I feel I want to defend myself and my beliefs despite clearly nonsupportive hypocritical actions..

I know that not all my choices have been correct, or based on what I believe to be morally or ethically correct.. no denials there..

So why am I writing all this? I desire to improve, and base my daily decisions more on where my commitments are at, and also I want people to know and trust that fruit alone is enough, so to minimise indecision and avoid nagging doubts of others as much as possible, I will henceforth seek consistency more.... And to my defense again, the small exceptions I have made over recent years have been small..I mean, small enough to be basically insignificant, and void of any real dietary importance, or of any nutritional value.. I think the only food that I ever made a meal of, were a very inoccasional small bowlfull of peas.. All else was of such miniscule amount, that I don't see them as part of my diet.. Despite that at a certain level they clearly were.. Those nonfruity exceptions have been so rare, that they may have only taken place on a handful of days a year, with the rest of the time, eating purely fruit and thriving on it..

I'm aware Harley and others have their own ideas of what diet is correct, and that their belief is that eating a fruitarian diet, may lead to malnourishment, dehydration, and lack of energy.. True, yes, I'm not exactly budding with enthusiastic desire to run around the orchard, or bike 70kms into Cairns.. And he's certainly someone with a very high energy, having trained at elite athletic levels.. I intend to write more about my thoughts on the 801010 diet at a later point, but as I'm slowly regaining inspiration to write, I'll no doubt be channeling many of my thoughts out to my book instead of my blog..

Anyhow.. I've already waffled on for longer than intended, and sort of want to thank Harley for bringing to my attention the inconsistency of saying no seeds or greens etc, and then breaking my own rule.. so hence forth, I will endevour to stick by my principles, and continue on my path toward dietary perfection.. - I'd like to be able to truthfully write, "never again", but I know that on a practical level, it's likely that there'll be times when I eat against my beliefs.. Perhaps out of curiousity, or in situations where I'm no longer faced with an abundance of the right foods.. And I'm well aware of the need to make even further changes, even within the fruit diet itself..


PS I've written a little more on were we're at over on my journal (there's a link to it up there on the top left somewhere), as I'm trying to get my thoughts updated..