Posted by: littlehouseonthebigisland | April 25, 2014

Fallen Fruit (& Nuts)

Fallen Pineapple

Fallen Pineapple

A few years ago we had a ‘woofer’* named Alex who used to run around in the early morning collecting fruit off the ground.  It was amazing how much she came up with.  We had avocados, lemons, limes, oranges, and guavas piled high, and there would be more every day to add in the kitchen, from her rounds.  Which incidentally made it a lot easier to walk, especially around one of the avocado trees where every year about this time, the ground turns into guacamole.

As I explained to visitors from Uzbeckistan who were shocked at all the food lying in the dirt, we just cannot keep up with production.  Probably they thought we were lazy, gentleman-farmer Americans.  But my husband does the work of at least three people, and I do the work of at least two, and still there is more produce that finds it’s way to the ground, than I like to admit. Just yesterday I came across mounds of coffee beans under a tree while weeding, that the rats had beaten me to.  I had to throw handfuls into the grass so that when they sprout we can mow them.

When fruit falls it rots where it lands which provides compost and food for wild animals (birds, mongoose, rats, mice, and a myriad of insects and vermin).  Or we scoop it up and feed it to chickens.  Or we eat it.  Or give it away.  We cannot sell it.  It could be bruised or have bug damage that is not obvious.  If it is an avocado the stem is broken, not clipped.  That means it will rot more quickly and may already have maggot eggs freshly laid.  Other fruit is bird pecked and rat-gnawed.  We may be willing to wash and peel it to avoid rat-lung disease, and we may be willing to cut away bad spots, but we do not expect the same of our customers, and neither do they.

There is one exception.  Macadamia nuts.  These we only harvest once they have fallen from the tree. I like to think of them as the ultimate vegetarian food, only harvested after being given up by the host.  There is a cult in India where members sweep the ground in front of them, lest they step on any living creature; where they eat only food that is fallen.  I like to imagine them discovering our farm and asking to set up an ashram here.  They would be in

Fallen Tropical Fruit

Fallen Tropical Fruit

raw, vegan heaven here on earth.  Not that I would care to join them.  I keep losing weight as it is, with all the work on Magic Mountain Farm, and am certain I would vaporize if I were to subsist on only what our land was willing to donate.

On the other hand, I find it curious that there are so many, especially women, especially in my former haunts in Los Angeles, who worship the false idols of thinness and eternal youth, who do not consider the humble, lowly life of the farmer’s wife.  They would have helmet-head hair most of the time to be sure, and have to wear grubby, stained clothing, and wear big clunky boots and Crocs, and work harder than they ever did in any class at any gym, but by golly, they’d be wiry and strong with clear eyes and a proper set of crows’ feet, and a pink snap in their cheeks from all the fallen fruits and nuts, the hard work, and the clear, starry nights, walking our dogs, ghosting and gliding up and down this side of our volcano, that we call Magic Mountain Farm.

*workers on organic farms


  1. Sounds like heaven. The puttering dreamers like Lola and myself are just hypnotized by the images and ideas. Love to all.

  2. Mom and I live on bruised fruits and veggies and anything else that is on a discount lol. But we love the casual mention of people from all over the world. The thing about rat lung is fascinating. It’s like the code name for a police snitch in a bab cop show lol. We only hope that our spacey, uncoordinated, short stamina doesn’t hinder or disappoint your expectations of us. We plan on slow and steady wins the race. Love to all.

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