When people think of exotic fruits in Hawaii, popular favorites like pineapple and coconuts may come to mind, but did you know that the Big Island is a cornucopia of many other edible delights? Visitors to the Big Island have the chance to sample an extensive variety of delicious locally grown exotic fruits including lilikoi (passionfruit), guava, papaya, mango, dragon fruit, lychee, rambutan, and star fruit to name a few.
There are several places to get your hands on some of that delicious locally grown fruit. No trip to the southern part of the island is complete without a stop at the South Kona Fruit Stand
. This quaint fruit stand offers a seasonal variety of fresh fruit as well as 100% fruit smoothies. With the lovely gardens and outdoor seating, it’s a perfect pitstop on a trip to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
. Look for uncommon fruit varieties like salak (snake fruit), mangosteen, Suriname cherries, jackfruit, cacao, ice cream bean, and soursop.
There are also some excellent farmer’s markets on the island to check out for the freshest fruits. Only 15 minutes away from our Big Island bed and breakfast and open on Saturdays from 8 am to noon, the Keauhou Farmer’s Market is chock full of local goodies ranging from fruit and veggies to honey, chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts, baked goods, jams and more.
For the granddaddy of Big Island farmer’s markets, be sure to stop by the Hilo Farmer’s Market
. Open every day, with big markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Hilo market showcases the island’s largest variety of produce. In addition to flowers and produce, the Hilo market also includes crafts, clothing, art, and food vendors. A must-stop for snacks and souvenirs while on the east side of the island.
When people think of exotic fruits in Hawaii, pineapple is often the first fruit to come to mind, but these days very few pineapples are actually grown in the islands and most of the production has moved to south and central America. However, if during your visit you have the good fortune to find the holy grail of pineapples, the coveted White pineapple (also known as Kona Sugarloaf or Big Island White), don’t hesitate to try it.
Only found in the Hawaiian Islands and only grown in small quantities by local farmers, these low-acid, aromatic, white-fleshed pineapples are even sweeter than yellow varieties, but without the stringy fibrousness or sharp tartness. This means you can savor this delicious treat without getting a stomachache or mouth sores. The sticker price for these pineapples can be shocking (anywhere from $20-$30 per fruit), but they’re worth the price, especially considering that a pineapple plant only produces one fruit every 2 years.
In addition to the many exotic fruits, be sure to try some familiar fruits too and see how different our local varieties taste. Our local apple bananas are smaller, sweeter, and less starchy than the bananas you’ll find in mainland grocery stores. Avocados flourish in the shallow, rocky soil of the Big Island providing rich, buttery qualities and sometimes-gargantuan-sized varieties.
Island-grown citrus fruits may look and taste different than you expect too. Oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines grown in warmer climates often don’t develop the deep orange color many consider synonymous with ripeness. The green peel does not necessarily indicate a lack of ripeness, but rather, reflects the temperature of the place it was grown.
The green skin is a result of chlorophyll that is naturally made by the fruit to guard against excessive sun. Cold nighttime temperatures (which kill off the green chlorophyll) are required for oranges to develop their deep-orange color. In places like Hawaii which generally lack cold night-time temperatures, that means our oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits typically stay green. Instead of color, the firmness is used to gauge ripeness in our citrus fruits.
To further add to the citrus confusion, locally grown limes may appear yellow when ripe while locally grown lemons (especially Meyer lemons) will more likely be green! Be sure to read the labels at the fruit stands and grocery stores to tell which is which.
Here at the Holualoa Inn, our chefs incorporate seasonal produce harvested from our 30-acre property into our gourmet breakfasts. Breakfast starts with a fruit plate showcasing our in-season estate-grown fruit and may include favorites such as papaya, mangoes, guava, pineapple, and apple bananas, but also some lesser-seen tropical fruits such as star apples, rollinia (also known as biriba), jaboticaba and longan. After a starter of fresh fruit, entrees may also include our estate-grown produce, like our coconut banana pancakes or savory avocado toast.
When you stay at our romantic Big Island bed and breakfast
, you can stroll the grounds and see the amazing variety of products grown on-site, including thousands of coffee trees that produce our 100-percent Kona coffee. Our Holualoa Inn ohana will be delighted to take you on a tour of the entire property, which features botanical walkways, ancient trails, orchards, and plant nurseries.