We're continuing our visit at the Kauai Plantation Railway. After lunch, it was time to explore the orchards.
We crossed the train tracks, trekked through a field and arrived at the orchards.
It's got to be a good tour if your guide is walking around with a cutting board and a knife.
First we sampled lychee from two different trees. Emperor Lychee was the first one we tried.
Lychee has a very unique flavor. You rip the red skin apart to reveal a white gummy fruit.
Hmm, I don't think Aubrey likes lychee.
And Ian didn't care for it either. T said if she was starving, she'd eat it. Or if she was on a plantation tour, she'd eat it. Otherwise lychee will not be a top pick for us.
We also sampled another variety of lychee called Pink lychee. It had a little bit better flavor than the Emperor lychee, but not by much.
Next up we saw a cashew tree, and I can't say that I've ever seen a cashew tree before.
The tree produces these bright red fruits, and on the bottom happens to be a seed. Technically cashews aren't nuts; they're seeds. And there's only one seed per fruit, so it's no wonder they're so expensive!
On top of only having one seed per fruit, the outer shell protecting the seed is actually toxic! It contains the same toxin as poison oak or poison ivy! Imagine that inside your mouth. It's certainly a lot of work to make this tasty treat edible.
The fruit is actually edible. Tiny assured us it had a very "interesting" flavor. I think that's code for "not good". I sampled it, and boy is it gross. It's got a really weird mouth feel that makes your mouth feel dry, while leaving a film over your tongue. Bleh. Well now I can say I've tried a cashew fruit.
Continuing on, we came across a row of sugar cane. Tiny told us that these giant stalks, once processed, generate about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar each. That's a lot of work for not much sugar!
Everyone got a piece to chew on.
Ian hasn't got the chew but don't swallow process figured out yet.
Pineapples take 2 years to grow to a marketable size. None of these were ripe yet.
The next part of our tour had everyone searching for mangos. These trees are a week or two away from being filled with ripe mangos, but unfortunately we're just a little too early. Tiny walked up and down the rows, hoping for a single fruit that had started developing a little early, but we had no such luck.
What about this one? Nope, still too green Ian.
Our guide couldn't pronounce the name of this one, but said it's a cousin to the rambutan and the lychee. Hmm, that doesn't bode well.
But we were very pleasantly surprised! It had the same texture, but tasted like a grape. Yum.
These are Midknight Valencia oranges (no I didn't misspell it). They're brown because a bug called a rust mite bites it and sucks the juices out of the skin. Since no one wants to buy an orange with brown skin, they end up juicing them instead.
These were pretty tasty. Ian got a few slices and ate them down to the rind.
Starfruit was next on the menu. As Tiny was cutting them, Ian identified the shape as "stars".
Starfruit is great for neck pain, back pain and hangover. Tiny said he eats starfruit every Saturday. Helps with the back pain...
Our last stop are these Samoan coconut trees. They're full size, but they've been bred to be low to the ground for easy harvesting of the coconuts.
They water inside must heat up, causing pressure because as soon as Tiny got the knife in there, it sprayed coconut water on Ian and me.
Tiny cut open a few coconuts and passed them around for the group to share. These are young coconuts and the coconut water that comes out of them isn't very sweet.
Ian ready to try coconut water.
Oh man, did he love that coconut water. He kept asking for more, more, more, and giving great big smiles. I think he also enjoyed drinking it but it made a bit of a mess. It's only a V notch in the skin and he gets just as much on him as he does in his mouth.
Tiny also cut us a little older coconut of the same variety and the difference between the water was dramatic. It was so much sweeter than the first one and bordering on delicious!
As the train pulled up to pick us up, Ian yelled train, train, train! T ripped up more of that orange and Ian devoured it.
Back at the station, we disembarked.
Thanks for the awesome tour Tiny! You were a great guide!
And before we had left the parking lot Ian was asleep, holding on to his coconut.
While I waited in the car, Aubrey and T explored a local farmers market, getting another coconut water, bananas, and even more pineapple. One of the pineapples she picked up tasted like it was a pineapple/coconut. I think it might have been one of the low acid variety and it was especially delicious.
Proving again that was can't go a day without a shaved ice, we again head to Uncles Shaved Ice for a treat.
I'm enjoyed this shaved snow.
While everyone else preferred shaved ice. Aww, poor Ian. He doesn't have anything. Let's fix that.
Ice cream! He got a scoop of Kaua'i Pie, which contains coffee (which he loves), coconut flakes, macadamia nuts, fudge, and other tasty bits.
And he certainly dug into it. Lucky boy.
Back at the hotel, after a morning of walking around we took our floats out to the lagoon and relaxed the afternoon away.
Ian kept himself distracted with his bucket and shovel.
And played with me a bit. He's showing me how he can float on his back.
And for some reason got a kick out of laying his head all the way back in the water. Crazy kid!
He's loving the water!
Well tomorrow will be even more of the same relaxing. Until next time.