Yes, it's coconut harvest season again in South Florida. Have you heard about this? Each autumn, skilled coconut workers come to our region from all over the Caribbean, with some harvesters imported from as far away as Thailand and Vietnam and other major coconut countries. Then when the weather begins to turn drier and cooler, the frenzied three-week coconut harvest begins. It's something to see. Oh yeah. I blogged about this a few years back, when coconut harvest technology was still in its more primitive stage. At that time, "coconut harvest technology" basically meant "two hands." The harvesters shinnied up the tall trunks of the coconut palms, using traditional methods learned as young children in their homelands.
One coconut at a time, they plucked and dropped the coconuts to the soft earth below, where other workers collected them into large piles for still other workers to husk and ship away to coconut shredding factories. As you can imagine, this was dangerous labor, especially for the coconut-collectors on the ground who wore specially made hard hats against the possibility of an accidental bonk from above.
How things have changed in just three or four years. Now you can expect to see the new "coconut thrashers" popping up all around Greater Fort Lauderdale over the coming weeks. The weather is perfect for the harvest and the thrasher technology speeds the gathering immensely. Basically, these cutting-edge thrashers are Transformer-like machines that reach up with great claws, grab the palm tree trunk like hands and shake the tree vigorously ... until every ripened coconut has fallen off. No more tree-shinnying for the coconut workers, though they still wear their special hard hats when collecting coconuts from the ground - you know, in case. Can't be too careful around a palm tree full of coconuts. And the most amazing thing about all of it is that, well, this story might even be true. Uh ... but it's not - haha! Nope, it's only another product of my fevered imagination on a lovely South Florida Monday, offered up for a couple of reasons. First, to give you a smile, I hope. Second, because late October is officially more than halfway to April Fool's Day and we always post a funny April Fool blog each year. Consider this an early start, created not to make anyone feel foolish but rather for something a little different and fun to begin your week. It also goes to show just how amazingly wacky South Florida life truly is. I mean, there might really be an annual coconut harvest, right? Hey, I could believe it. In the midst of our major autumn events such as the Dine Out Lauderdale promotion http://www.sunny.org/dineout/ and the upcoming Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show http://www.showmanagement.com/, why not a big harvest season to go with it? We sure do have lots of coconuts, with many of them turning up in our food and cocktails and décor and everywhere else. The coconut is an important part of South Florida's tropical culture. And if this blog inspires you to harvest one or two of your own, please feel free. There are plenty to go around. Only, remember this important tip: Make sure you wear a hard hat. That part is no joke.