For the life of me, I don’t know what the English name for this fruit is. Its’ shape and feel is similar to the Breadfruit and even maybe a Jackfruit. Someone out there can confirm its name with me.
No too many people talk about this fruit or even take photographs of it. Maybe because not too many people come across it or the those who do, don’t think too highly of it. I first heard of the fruit in high school but then over the years I have heard it in stories from people who lived or walked in the mountains and bushes especially those who lived in the Kurti area. So a few days ago, my mum brought one home. She found it by the bush track she was walking in. The fruit grows from a tree 10-15 meters up and can be found in the bushes rather than in clear spaces in the community.
So the name in the local Kurti language is call ‘Pakan’ (prounced as Pah-kan). It very much looks like a breadfruit but even though it is round, the skin is very hard. This means that when it falls from the tree it grows on and lands on the ground, its’ insides dont smash or become squashy. People often locate the fallen pakan on the ground underneath the tree. If one doesn’t see it immediately, the smell gives it away. It smells sweet like freshly cooked breadfruit over an open fire. When you break it open with a knife, the flesh dry and stable has seeds imbedded in it like small pebbles. The taste is a cross between a baked kaukau (sweet potato) and a pineapple. Its easy on the mouth and goes down well because the smell is pleasant.
So I started my new project which was a garden. My parents have planted kaukau, tapioca, bananas and pineapples all over the place. There are some gardens here and some gardens there. So I decided that I should do mine as well and contribute to the household as well.
There is this mountainous area beside the house. It is very steep but it would be a great place to plant something. I first started by cutting the shrubs at the edge of the mountain and then into the smaller trees. Although this mountain looks like a forest, it isn’t. In 1997 during the El Nino season, fire raged through much of the forests here. I used to live on the coast and during evenings, we would look up to the mountains and see fires on the mountain tops. In the distant, the looked like fiery orange embers like eyes of something malevolent lurking, waiting for an opportunity to strike. The fires burnt through the old trees and now, new ones have grown. Most are softwood so it was easy to chop down using an axe.
After chopping down the shrubs and trees, we left them for a while to dry up. After a couple of days, when some of the shrubs and leaves were dry, we burnt them. As the place cleared up, I began cutting the fallen trees to clear the place. The idea is that once we clear the placed the place and removed the debris, we can start planting something.
My father has already decided that one part of the mountain should form a road from the top of the mountain down to the bottom of the mountain. I don’t know what he is up to but there is no use arguing with an old man. He has already planted pineapples to mark his road. I’m doing my bit to clear the fallen trees and shrubs and hopefully start planting some banana trees. Hopefully when my kids come for the holiday break, they will have some kaukau and pineapples by then.