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Things to do around Desaru – Desaru Fruit Farm Tour

By on March 10, 2013 in Malaysia

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.

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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.


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The tour starts with a short ride on a truck down to a walkway that is semi-covered with growing vines. The tour takes around an hour, and it is advisable to wear a hat and/or sun block, and to carry some water (although there is a drink stop halfway around).

Breadfruit - Artocarpus altilis

Breadfruit – Artocarpus altilis

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 - these fruit turn red when ripe and the colour of the flesh is either red or white. A given plant will only produce fruit with flesh of a given colour, that is, there are plants that produce red fleshed fruit, and plants that produce white fleshed fruit

The Dragon Fruit – these fruit turn red when ripe and the colour of the flesh is either red or white. A given plant will only produce fruit with flesh of a given colour, that is, there are plants that produce red fleshed fruit, and plants that produce white fleshed fruit

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.

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.

Jackfruit - Artocarpus heterophyllus

Jackfruit – Artocarpus heterophyllus

Jackfruit - Artocarpus heterophyllus

Jackfruit – Artocarpus heterophyllus

Jackfruit - Artocarpus heterophyllus - the paper is used to protect the fruit from the sun and insects

Jackfruit – Artocarpus heterophyllus – the paper is used to protect the fruit from the sun and insects

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!

Cat's Whisker - Orthosiphon aristatus - this can be made in to a tea

Cat’s Whisker – Orthosiphon aristatus – this can be made in to a tea

Mengkudu or Noni - Morinda citrifolia

Mengkudu or Noni – Morinda citrifolia

Pamelo - Citrus maxima - again the paper is to protect the fruit from insects and the sun

Pamelo – Citrus maxima – again the paper is to protect the fruit from insects and the sun

Bananas - we were told that this was quite a rare banana as it had two flowers

Bananas – we were told that this was quite a rare banana as it had two flowers

Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass

Betle Leaf - Piper betle - a popular chewing leaf in India

Betle Leaf – Piper betle – a popular chewing leaf in India

Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa

Roselle – Hibiscus sabdariffa

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.

Stevia sweet leaf - Stevia rebaudiana - a chewing leaf to freshen the breathe - quite pleasant to chew

Stevia sweet leaf – Stevia rebaudiana – a chewing leaf to freshen the breathe – quite pleasant to chew

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 drink stop and a museum on the tour

A drink stop and a museum on the tour

Feeding the fish...

Feeding the fish…

Coffee...

Coffee…

Musa Ornata Pink - This is a wild banana that is poisonous - this was a surprise to me as I thought all bananas were edible

Musa Ornata Pink – This is a wild banana that is poisonous – this was a surprise to me as I thought all bananas were edible

Chocolate - Cocoa - Theabroma cocao

Chocolate – Cocoa – Theabroma cocao

Thousand Finger Banana - Musa spp. - an ornamental banana

Thousand Finger Banana – Musa spp. – an ornamental banana

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?

Blog Post Bonus: Download a PDF version of this blog post to read later.

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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  1. Alan Cann says:

    Tried an durian yet?

    • Nick says:

      Nope… but it is on list. A quick (non-scientific) survey of local students suggest that it is the 'marmite' of the fruit world, you either love it or hate it. Both loving and hating seem to run in families – genetic component? (There may be a research project in this!!)

    • Anonymous says:

      I am going this weekend. Looking forward for it

      zuljb

  2. Faiz says:

    Awesome trip we had! Fireflies glitter in the dark and it was beautiful. But thr food was out of this world. You guys got to try the seafood. Outstanding!. Dont drive alone because u will get lost. The gps is not right and the road is strange. Its smack hidden. I got lost finding the place. Recommend u take the tour or convoy. Overall highly recommended

  3. Fantastic site. A lot of useful info here.
    I’m sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious.
    And obviously, thank you for your sweat!

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