Whilst looking for things to do around Desaru I came across two tourist attractions – the Bujang Firefly River Cruise (see Things to do around Desaru – Bujang Firefly River Cruise) and the Desura Fruit Farm Tour. Initially I was quite sceptical of the fruit farm tour – Why would you want to do such a thing? Wouldn’t it be very boring? But it turned out to be quite good fun, really interesting, and quite educational.
During my attempts to find the Bujang Firefly River (see Things to do around Desaru – Bujang Firefly River Cruise) I also discovered where the fruit farm was located. Again, the secret is to drive back from Desaru to almost the toll booths on E22, as if you were heading back to Johor, and instead of heading down E22 to the booths carry straight on. The fruit farm is just a little way down the road on the left, and is clearly marked.
View Larger Map
One thing that intrigued me, besides finally being able to work out what some of the cut up fruits I have been eating the past few weeks really look like, was that the growing seasons for the different fruits was not seasonal and was species dependent. That is, some fruits were only produced once a year, some twice, some three and some four times.
The Dragon Fruit plants were interesting. The plant produces a flower (that would have been attached where you can see the hole in the picture above). The flower then dies and drops off. I found the fact that plants either produce red or white fleshed fruit, and never both or pink, intriguing and I am wondering if there is some interesting genetics going on there that I could introduce to the Biomedical Sciences degree at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia.
In an early post I wrote about Jackfruit – Artocarpus heterophyllus, well at the fruit farm I got see them growing on their tree… They are HUGE and can weigh up to 30 kg. No wonder they can only grow on the trunk.
A lot of the fruits and herbs we saw had medicinal properties and we were told they could be used to cure diabetes, break-up kidney stones, improve digestion, and fix a huge range of conditions and complaints. We were also told that a large number of them were able to reduce blood pressure, in fact so many of them could do that that I would be surprised if anyone in Malaysia has high blood pressure!
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is an interesting flower that can be boiled up and then served cold as a drink. Whist at the farm I tried some of the drink and pretty good, very refreshing, and tasted a bit like Ribenna.
Halfway around the walk we stopped at a small hut/museum that sold drinks (this is where I tried the Roselle) and fish food…
A good tour that I enjoyed. I also learnt that the Durian (a famous very smelly fruit that is banned in most taxis and hotels – and I am yet to try) only fruits once per year, is called the King of Fruits, is produced on a tree, and is described as ‘hot’. And the Queen of Fruits is the Mangosteen, which is described as ‘cold’ or ‘cooling’.
In the above photos you can seen that a number of the fruit had been wrapped in paper, whilst still on the tree, and a lot of the fruit was also in plastic bags (not shown in the photos). The paper is used to protect the fruit from the sun and insects, whereas the plastic (sometimes in combination with paper) was used to help the fruit ripen and to protect it from insects. This had quite an odd effect as some of the trees looked like they were growing plastic bags…
I wonder what the farmers used before the invention of plastic?