Wild Mangos and Jackfruit

Monday, September 20, 2010

By Noris Ledesma

Today we visited Frankie Sekia's Nursery. Frankie is a long-time friend of Fairchild Garden. Frankie’s nursery has developed a reputation for unusual products and exotic fruit. Frankie and his lovely wife live in Waimanalo. His place is located in a delightful location surrounded by high vertical cliffs that appear to melt into the clouds. 

Frankie is a third-generation Hawaiian resident of pure Japanese heritage. He attended the University of Hawaii and graduated as a Business Administrator. He became passionate about tropical fruit and decided to establish his own business. 

Mark Suiso and a group of his customers were there when we arrived. He set up a fruit display of mangos, jackfruit, salak, sapodilla, abiu, chupa chupa, champedak, dragon fruit and more from his property ready for tasting. 

We started with his more recent jackfruits from Malaysia. ‘NG’S Red’ kept my attention with a bright orange flesh, no latex and a good bulb size. The flesh was crunchy with an aromatic flavor. We tried champedak then and in the end some of his mangos. Frankie shared some of his experiences on collecting in Malaysia. His nursery was busy, so his wife had to take care of the business, meanwhile Franky took us to his collection. 

His place used to be a commercial pineapple plantation. Every space is a possible location to grow something special in his place. Some of his trees are grown as part of his own collection to be used as a mother plant  for his nursery. Rambutans (Nelphelium lappaceum), durians (Durio spp), abiu (Pouteria caimito), Langsats (Lansium domesticum), mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) and some Mangifera sp. have all been collected in his travels. 

He showed us his new pineapple hybrid that he developed, and we tasted it. Next to his pineapple was the jackfruit collection. I was looking for the ‘NG’S Red’, and Frankie stopped in one of his trees to show us a hybrid jackfruit. He took his knife off and peeled it in front of us to taste. It was a wonderful fruit, no latex, soft but creamy with an exotic flavor. We collected some of his new varieties. He also has a mango collection and shared with me some of his favorite mangos: ‘Sindhu’, and ‘Arka Neelkiran’. I was interested also in collecting some of the Mangifera relatives that didn’t survive in my last expedition to Indonesia. 


The time passed quickly and it was time to return and be ready to pack. In the morning we will leave to big island to explore more about mangos in this part of Hawaii.