California to Puerto Rico

Bienvenido a Mi Finca!

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Right before we left for our two month excursion to California & New Jersey, I was walking around our property checking out the plants. One of the first things that we planted were a few little banana trees and they have gotten quite large. Since they havn’t produced any fruit, I was wondering if perhaps we planted non-fruit bearing banana trees and said out loud, “Hey, why havn’t we gotten any bananas out of you guy!?” (Yes, I talk to our plants…) I looked up and guess what I saw: Bananas!

banana trees fruiting

banana trees fruiting

Does any one know the best time to pick bananas? While they are still green or when they start to turn yellow?

In addition to bananas, we could not believe how much the papaya plants had grown in the two months we were off the island. I would say they are ten times the size from when we left and there are 20+ papayas hanging off of that tree!

papaya trees fruiting

papaya trees fruiting

In the madness of preparing for our first cross country trip with the baby we forgot to harvest and eat our first pineapple and it went bad by the time we got back…Bummer! But we do have 6 more pineapple plants in the ground so hopefully we will get another soon.

It’s so cool to finally be able to eat the fruits of our labor (literally)! So far we have produced the following food from our land: mangos, papayas, pineapples, avocados, kumquats, limon dulce, noni, tomatoes, lettuce, basil, rosemary, string beans, calabaza, snap peas, jalapenos, edamame, chives, bell peppers, peanut butter fruit, starfruit and cilantro. It’s like Farmville, but for real! Right Robin? 😉


17 thoughts on “Bienvenido a Mi Finca!

  1. VEE



  2. Rosa

    The papayas look amazing, very large. The bananas look like the short chubby bananas…I hope so, they are sweeter than the regular bananas.

  3. CC, Rincon Sports Massage

    We have cut down all the bananas at once (when hard to reach) and then let them hang on the wall outside to ripen. But Vee is right, if you can pick them one by one off the bunch from the tree, that would be ideal.

    Our PR neighbors say to cut down papaya when it starts to turn yellow

  4. Shannon

    Hi , My friend down there Elka taught me that you can cook the green bananas. You chop the green banana with the peel on , then boil the chunks untill the ends pop out of the peel a little. Take them out of the water. Peel and chop. We boil the casava, pumpkin, carrots, potatoes together, drain the water. Chop raw garlic, put it in a dish with olives and olive oil then throw in the bananas and veggies all together. ,Super good!

  5. Doug Charles

    This is the greatest news. We were in P.R. this past spring and loved it there. We are returning to Isabela for the entire winter. Two questions:1) is the soil OK as is, to plant. 2) could I dream of planting anything like sting beans; lettuce; tomatoes in your area and expect a crop before we have to lave in mid may. I kw that you are not a expert gardner, but coud you veture a guess

  6. Carol

    Hello guys! I think you were checking out your bananas and papayas too often and got anxious. You were out for two months and when came back found those biiiig papayas and nice bananas… Next time, forget about them for a while!!

  7. Arturo Ramos, Austin, Texas

    Suggestion on the bananas: depending on what use or mode of cooking will determine if to pick green or almost ripe. I will strongly advice that on your first crop you pick a little at a time, so that will become familiar with its natural growth on the plant, because you want to be able to tell when the fruit has stopped growing. That way when you harvest you will pick at its biggest possible size and therefore maximize the yield of each fruit or harvest. I am an Agronomist from P.R. UPR Mayaguez Campus, but the last 8 years I have been working in Texas. On the planting at Isabela first determine your soil type, sandy etc. if sandy adding organic matter and some Top soil it will improve it or if it is clay add sand with some organic matter, also the Agricutural Research Station is located in Isabela take a sample to them, you can also Email me with any questions! I am originally from Aguadilla, but grew up in Lompoc, California!

  8. katrina kruse

    You can eat the flower (just google banana flower recipes) so knock it off and cut a portion of the green ones to use like you would use potatoes. The only thing is that you have to make sure they are plump enough. If you wait until they yellow they will split. Green clumps will ripen – just hang them somewhere. If these are the little manzana bananas they will taste chaulky even yellow if they aren’t really ripe. Patience!

  9. emily

    When is was little my mum planted a babana tree beside our fish pond. It grew very tall and finally produced a bunch of tiny bananas and we didnt pick them off until they had all ripened on the tree. We ate them when we picked them, and they were the sweetest little bananas i’ve ever had in my life.

  10. gimarynj

    congratulation on the bananas and papaya they look muy bueno. I can;t wait to go to PR. haven’t travel in 3 years to the island.

  11. Erik P

    Freeze your extra bananas, mango, papaya, pineapple. Frozen bananas, add mango or other fruit, a few ice cubes, bit of water, blend, perfect smoothies and you don’t need that much ice with all the fruit frozen already, just add some water.

  12. jamie

    In Hawai’i we cut the banana bunch when the flower was just ready to fall off, then hung it on the porch (most of the bananas were green, only a couple yellow). We had SO MANY trees, that it always seemed to me it didn’t matter if you picked them off the bunch before you cut it from the tree or not, the difference in the slowing of the overall ripening was so minimal. Just have to face the reality of freezing the rest of them before they rot (for smoothies, nana pancakes, whatever). We always cut the tree then too, because it not only gave the next shoot more room to grow, it prevented the rotting watery mess of a fallen tree from attracting bugs. Good luck! I’m jealous out here in the Colorado cold 🙂

  13. Pablo

    Have you guys tried eating green bananas? They’re also delicious when pickled …en escabeche. We have 3 toddler age kids, all born here in Seattle. My G/F is from here WA. I was born in NY, and raised in Vieques during the NAVY occupation years. And after living all over here both west and east coast, I am ready to make my final move and settled down back in PR. We have plans to basically do about the same thing you guys done relocating from the West Coast to PR. Drop out of this rat race here and hopefully become as self-sufficient as possible and living in harmony with nature in our small Finca. Feels great, don’t it! Freash eggs from your own chickens. Papayas, mangoes, avocadoes etc all time of the year. Trown in some plaintain, guavas, and bread fruit to that list. The possibilities are huge. Cannot get much better than that Initially we will be in Vieques. My kids will get all the Carribean beach experience they can get, and we can always go back there for more. But we want to end up somewhere in the rural Central regional area of the Isla. I admire you guys for your sucess with this, all the way from ol’ Diego. No Balboa Park or TJ there Huh! Congratulations, you have a beautiful family. And wish you all the best in PR. Dios los bendiga.

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