No, this is not a post about Britney Spears! Actually, it’s another of my own foibles with identifying plants and animals in Saba. This time, it’s about my own fruit trees. You’d think I’d know what I was eating – especially after two years of eating the fruit from my own trees, but sadly, it isn’t so.

Remember Cedric, who came and cut the coconuts for us with his trusty machete? Well, Cedric is an experienced organic farmer, in addition to being a master builder. Cedric used to do a lot of farming, using all natural processes, including composting. He sold his vegetables and fruits to the local stores at one time, but not much of this happens anymore. In fact, there are many people who have vegetable and fruit gardens in Saba – many of them growing produce organically, but it is fast becoming done more for personal consumption than wholesaling.

The Perils Of Organic Farming
Apparently, due to the weather conditions and pests, it can be difficult to ensure that the stores will get a full order from an individual farmer. While there are plenty of natural ways to deter pests, you may not have known – as I didn’t – that the birds are hazardous to a farmer’s produce as well. Take Cedric’s fruit trees, for example. He mentioned having to be up before 5:00 am in order to make sure the birds didn’t go after his papayas. This created long days and plenty of work for farmers in Saba – who have only small plots of land – and therefore, small crops resulting from their efforts.

From Small Farmers to Big Farms – Globalization Affects Everyone
I have already mentioned that when you go to the stores in Saba, you rarely or never see papayas, coconuts, oranges or some of the other fruits on the island. The stores are starting to carry mangoes and Saban basil, along with some Saban lettuce. Most of the produce is from big producers in places like Florida, San Juan and Columbia. If you are in the know, however, you can pay a Saban farmer for organic produce – which is what I plan to do now that I know the scoop. If you are flexible, you can just buy whatever they have to sell, which can be kind of fun – like a surprise! It’s not so different, after all, from going to the store, since you never can anticipate what they’ll have anyway.

American Lemon, C’mon And Let Me Be-e
Okay, okay, I guess I have to confess my latest mistake – it’s the lime tree in our yard. Well, it’s not really a lime tree, but an American lemon tree, which Cedric pointed out. Joel and I have been calling them limes and eating them as limes for the past 2 years. When I say eating them as limes, I mean we pick them when they are green and appear to be ripe – in our minds, anyway.

I have to admit that I’d find these huge, yellow lemons on the ground near the tree and pick them up curiously. I’d wonder where these big lemons came from and look around. Now our caretaker had told us that we had a lemon tree, but it is not really producing, so I figured perhaps it came from there…or our neighbor’s yard…or the yodeling cat?

Got The Wrong Right, Got The Right Wrong
I even went as far as asking Joel, “Do you think limes turn yellow like lemons when they start to go bad?” To this, Joel just scoffed at my ridiculous question, although if you think about it, in some twisted way, it’s kind of a smart question with the wrong reasoning. Joel should be used to this after all of our conversations about technology. I typically have the idea right, but the language all wrong. You can image this causes plenty of heated “discussions” between a big picture thinker and a logical, IT analyst-type. After 13 years of marriage, we are finally realizing that we’re often saying the same things with different words! 🙂

Anyway, Cedric told us that if you let the “limes” continue to ripen, they become very large lemons and are delicious. We never even gave the poor things a chance! Well, live and learn. I’m not sure what the next mistake will be, but as sure as change is the only constant, you can be sure I’ll be confessing here again before too long!