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La Pitahaya or the Dragon Fruit July 2, 2007

Posted by adrien in Fruits & Vegetables.
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Finally the rain has come (with almost a month late) and so has come a bit of freshness. Thanks God because it started to be very, very hot those last days.

Along with the rains has come also the first dragon fruits of the season.
The Pitahaya is a fruit of a cactus belonging to the Hylocereus family and originated from central and South America. I’ve heard that a French naturalist brought it with him to Indochina in the 19th century. (I remember there was a Hylocereus cactus on the balcony of my Grand-Ma’s house in Nha Trang, and we kids were forbidden to go near the cactus and touch the fruits, which were destinated to be on the ancestor’ altar. And what is on the ancestors’ altar is sacred). Now a day, Vietnam is the first dragon fruit producer and exporter of the world. Actually, the Pitahaya name in Vietnamese is Thanh Long, which means “fruit of the Dragon”. Some also call it in English strawberry pear.

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We started to make our pitahaya field five years ago. Natives of Bahia de Banderas know better Tuna (the nopal cactus fruit) or Pitaya (which is like the dragon fruit but smaller and yellow outside) but there was almost no dragon fruit here. I have seen a few times Hylocereus Cactus in the jungle but it will cost us a lot of works to get the fruit, unless we are monkeys or birds. As a matter of fact, the hylocereus cactus is thin and flexible so it needs a tutor to grow up to reach the sun. Thus, the flowers and fruits are up to 100 feet high in natural state.

The flower of the Dragon Fruit is precious. It is about 15 cm long and can reach 30 cm of diameter. But as all beauties are ephemeral, the hylocereus flower blossoms at night and start to die with the first sunrays. So the best time to go on a Dragon fruits field is at 6 in the morning.

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You can find Dragon fruits in Vallarta from the end of May to November in Fruit Forest (the mother company of Fruit Forest in Guadalajara: H&C Global distributes our Dragon Fruits) but I have notices some pitahaya this year at Soriana in front of Sam’s Club.

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In our fields, there are 3 cactus which give fruit with red pulp. The taste is lightly sweeter then the regular fruit but it is aesthetically less interesting.

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Comments»

1. Alvaro Pacheco - March 21, 2008

Señores.
Soy un pequeño productor de pitajaya amarilla, en Venezuela. Me gustaría conseguir unos esquejes de fruta del dragón para probarla en esta región. Si es posible conseguir algunas por favor comunicarse con mi e-mail ppalvaro@yahoo.com
Quedo en espera de su respuesta


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