Hey Redditors!

I am Ken Love and I am a Fruit Hunter. I’ve looked for unusual fruit in more than 50 countries and spend a lot of time in South India. I'm also the executive director of Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers and President of American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association.

I'm joined by documentary filmmaker Yung Chang (Up The Yangzte & China Heavyweight). His new film THE FRUIT HUNTERS follows fruit hunters like myself whose passion it is to discover and preserve exotic and rare fruits.

You can watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANUPINHT5dI&list=PLmjCQE6eNlYEWujgfMgkHmVcTS4zeQ_4H&index=4

Watch a clip of me here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBSe3sUt43k&list=PLmjCQE6eNlYEWujgfMgkHmVcTS4zeQ_4H&index=1

The movie is in theaters in select cities through the end of the week via Cinedigm’s Docurama films label. http://www.docuramafest.com/fruit-hunters/

Proof: https://www.facebook.com/fruithunters

UPDATE: Hey all! Might take a little break but please keep the questions coming! Great to speak with so many fruit curious/lovers. Also just gotta plug our new documentary The Fruit Hunters starring other fruit hunters like actor Bill Pullman. Check for info above!

UPDATE 1pm EST: Back and answering!

Comments: 531 • Responses: 140  • Date: 

muppetshopboys74 karma

Let's say I want to make the world's most expensive fruit salad. What 5 ingredients do I need, and how much should I be charging per serving?

TheFruitHunters94 karma

White-fleshed mango from Bali, coco-de-mer from Seychelles, kura-kura durian from Borneo, baobab fruit, and your favorite childhood fruit = Priceless. - Y

messedfrombirth40 karma

What's the sweetest fruit that might be available in North America for purchase? What is your all time fav one texture wise and describe please

TheFruitHunters55 karma

Try the miracle fruit * you can get it shipped from miraclefruitman.com. Any of the sweetest mango varieties especially alphonsos. Check out the Int'l Mango Festival in Miami too. I got to try mangos that taste like pina colada, creme brulee and lemon meringue pie. All time fav is a tuff one to answer. Usually fave fruit is the one you get invited to eat in someone's backyard collection. Recently, durian in our fixer's mother's backyard in Bali.

TheFruitHunters15 karma

Previous answer by YUNG. : )

TheFruitHunters22 karma

sweetest I think would be abiu but only in florida unless you got them to send it to you -- its kind of like a sweet vanila pudding -- too sweet for some at our farmers markets-k

Hexaploid31 karma

Hi. I'm a person with a background in plant science who hopes someday to work with improving these sorts of things. I've got a copy of the Fruit Hunters book right beside me. I'd love to ask a bunch of things.

What fruit do you think have the most potential to be adapted to mass cultivation? In my opinion, the goal should be to bring these things to everybody to enjoy, not just have it restricted to certain areas.

what are the greatest challenges faced by the promotion of undercultivated species? Lack of cultivars, lack of post harvest methods/ shelf life, lack of consumer awareness, lack of cultivation techniques?

What goals do you think breeders should have for developing new varieties of undercultivated fruit? I'm guessing shippability, but any other traits?

what do you think the next big thing will be? A while back kiwis, mangoes, and pomegranates were not very common, now they are relatively common. What is next?

What is the absolute most bizarre fruit you can think of? Mine is the parasitic Hydnora africana.

Finally, any advice for someone looking to work with undercultivated crops?

Also, for those who are interested, there is a subreddit at /r/biodiversity for under cultivated species. Its kind of slow going now, but it is there.

Sorry about all the questions, and thank you.

TheFruitHunters23 karma

let me try -- lots haev potential to be a world class fruit with proper horticultural practices, jaboticaba, abiu and green sapote, -- why isnt it happening is well , like bob dylan said, "money doesnt talk it swears". If someoen put in 50 acres here or florida and could wait 10 years for a return on investment-- some of hte fruits would be more popular across north america.

lasck of post harvest awareness is aa problem but lack of consumemr awareness could be easily remedy if there was enough fruit to do taste tests. jackfruit now has a great potential too -- my favorite to work with --

sometimes breeders go over hte top especially with prunus hybrids. Nature does a great job on her own given time.

i would like to see jackfruit as the next big thing -- if india decideds to do a lot of research and marketing it could be -- that and well you already see the other garcinias and not just mangosteen. i dont like the network marketing part of it. mens more spam in the email!

find sponsors to find work with undercultivated crops -- or write lots of grants -- you dont need to be at the Univ. to write a lot of US grants -- not sure about other places. -- hope this answers some -- but send email anytime if not-k

sheilaevil18 karma

How can people who are not "fruit hunters" get their hands on some of the more exotic specimens in the film?

TheFruitHunters25 karma

depends on where you are, the easy answer is come visit hawaii (_) otherwise try the ethnic markets, hispanic, asian etc. - large wholoesale fruit markets in big cities too.-k

haolehina13 karma

Say I'm already in HI (Aloha!), what should I look for and where? I've already found mangosteen, dragonfruit, etc in our farmers market - any more suggestions

TheFruitHunters13 karma

depends on the island but frankies in waimanalo is good -- keauhou farmers market here in kona. Hilo sometimes -- ono farms on maui.

Scandium2110 karma


TheFruitHunters12 karma

yes -- john anderson has some on kauai - find our HTFG group there or check with scott at the NTBG

applesauced7 karma

Hello Ken! I loved reading about your farm in the Fruit Hunters and have noticed that you have been getting a lot of attention in other media too!

Is it possible to come visit your farm in Hawaii? I was really interested in trying when I was on the Big Island in March, but your website seemed unclear on whether folks could just roll up and visit. Suggestions?

TheFruitHunters7 karma

i have to get my first knee replaced in december so i cant really get around to much right now which is why all this other stuff seems to pop up. Still you know know -- best thing is to email before you head back

nathancolbylee16 karma

Have you ever had a mayhaw? I'm going to collect some this week to make some jelly. Nothing beats mayhaw jelly...

TheFruitHunters16 karma

wow, ive not had that in years! last time was when i stopped in Cleveland Miss. driving south to Coffeeville. something that should really be better marketed outside the region -- like scupperdongs etc. k

nathancolbylee7 karma

I'm from southern Mississippi. I can remember fishing on the river as a kid and getting a stomach ache from eating too many. I couldn't help myself.

TheFruitHunters3 karma

really good!

alcoholland6 karma

Are Scupperdongs related to scuppernongs?

TheFruitHunters7 karma

same thing -- i just cant spell

monitor_me13 karma

Have you ever accidentally eaten poisonous fruit?

TheFruitHunters14 karma

nope (knock wood)-I have to be pretty sure what it is before I'll try it.-k

puddle_stomper11 karma

  1. How did you end up a fruit hunter? Did you just love fruit, search for it, and then realize that you were suddenly all over the world trying new fruit? Or did you already travel a lot for another reason and then decide to start trying out different fruits?

  2. Is there a specific process you go through when tasting fruit, as with wine or coffee, or do you just go for it?

  3. And if you have time for a 3rd question: Is there any really great fruit to be found in the midwest?

TheFruitHunters17 karma

evolution, I did a lot of traveling as a news photographer. but I was already into the fruits. Maybe becasue my father would bring home figs and persimmons and mangos which were pretty unusual for early 1950s chicago. -- there is so much fruit out there to try -- im planning on being back in India next year and have a whole new area to check -- could spend 3 lifetimes just in south india!

We tried for years to come up with flavor wheels for fruit like they have for wine but we cant -- at least I and other chefs cant -- tehre is no way to describe the taste of many fruits in conventional terms or by compariosns with conventional foods.--

There has to be wild berries in the midwest and pawpaws. kind of papaya relative. other rare varieties of apples, peaches -- and even persimmons. Along the mississippi in Iowa there are wild persimmons that the indians planted and used -- k

drunken_monk9 karma

I once ate a fruit in central Nepal that gave the sensation of one's mouth becoming bone dry upon ingestion. It tasted somewhat bitter. I don't remember what it looked like. Have you ever encountered anything like that, if so what is it?

TheFruitHunters8 karma

no idea what that might be. Never had it in northern India. but Dr Parmer from fruitpedia,.com might know

TheSecondLaw8 karma

I love Durians. Do you?

TheFruitHunters5 karma

yep - -totally -- cant get enough

Feerox8 karma

Have you ever found any Devil Fruits? Specifically the Pika-Pika no Mi?

TheFruitHunters16 karma

悪魔の実 i like logia

Dirtyinthesandbox6 karma

Hello Kevin!!!! What is your favorite food?

TheFruitHunters9 karma

juwari soba and tsukemono (pickles) from Japan-ken

sandgroper076 karma

Hi , just a couple of questions , 1. What is the rarest fruit 2. What is the most expensive .

TheFruitHunters8 karma

there are a lot that can be considered rare - but maybe sychelles coconut or butt nut as its called -- being rare here in hawaii it can still be common in borneo. Rare varieties of durian and rare varieties of apples are equal in that respect. -- in hawaii fresh durian is the most expensive. in Japan i've seen very expensive grapes -- which are amazingly good -k

ClockWorkOracle6 karma

Have you tried the Australian Quandongs? I remember eating them with my grandparents when I was young but haven't tried one since. Do you specifically look for farmed fruit or do you search for bush fruit too?

TheFruitHunters6 karma

Have only had them once a few years ago when i chef brought them here-- same for wattle seed. I do have a number of bushtucker plants like midgen berry, davidsonia plum and the finger limes. I have a book with another 50 "down under" fruits I want to find one of these daze! k

Corrom6 karma

In Mexico there is a fruit that goes by the name of "Rambutan" or something like that. Have You had it? What sort of taste did it have?

TheFruitHunters14 karma

rambutan is fairly common -- it originates from SE Asia.. tastes like lychee in fact its called the hairy lychee.k

CookiesNotForSale6 karma

Hey! My father swears that there is an apple that is crystal clear in Mexico, He said that there was at least one big field full of these trees. I cannot for the life of me find what he is talking about! Have you seen these type of crystal apple fruits? He said he could see through them, He is from Santiago Papasqiaro, Durango, Mexico.

TheFruitHunters5 karma

never heard of or tried it but it would not surprise me. there is so much more out there still to find.! this can be your quest!

soshun6 karma

Hi! Up the Yangtze is one of my favorite movies. I was wondering how I can ever see Ali Shan, your short movie. I had dreams about watching this movie for days and days but never could see it and gave up >.<

TheFruitHunters7 karma

Thanks! You can watch Ali Shan here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DURwbXUif8s - Y

Mikeydoes6 karma

If you can choose a few of your favorite fruits to be as available as Apples and Bananas in markets, what would they be?

TheFruitHunters11 karma

jackfruit, jaboticaba, abiurana & abiu-- would love to be able to get them anyplace -- durian too for that matter -k

pineconeboy6 karma

When I was in the Peace Corps in southern Honduras, I got to try a lot of fruits I'd never even heard of before and many of which were absolutely delicious. My #1 favorite were these things, known locally as "mamey". I only knew of a few trees in my area and they were not sold commercially. Do you know where they are native to originally? Are they sold commercially anywhere?

TheFruitHunters5 karma

mamey sapote is common in florida and you can usually order some from robert is here farm stand in homestead fla. or from the rare fruit groups in fla. makes the best shakes ever!

fixer9415 karma

what would you consider the most unique citrus type of fruit you have found?

TheFruitHunters9 karma

fingerlimes from down under -- only i had them in calif. from JJ's Lone Daughter's farm at Hollywood farmers market. like citrus caviar. also had some great tangelo and pummelo and other japanese citrus -k

TheFruitHunters5 karma

been on 4 hours and need to take a break -- sorry if i missed any questions. feel free to find me on hawaiifruit.net enjoy Yungs movie, its fun ken

hayategekko5 karma

Have you ever been to Peru? If so do you like the fruit there? The luccame is wonderful

TheFruitHunters10 karma

lucmo is an amazing fruit, I've never been to Peru but do have lucmo trees. Most of the ice cream in the UK is sweetened with lucmo powder instead of white refined sugar-k

gravesville5 karma

Have you caught a Tropius yet? I've heard they're rare and pretty powerful.

TheFruitHunters10 karma

yeah -- gotta collect them all !! (_)k

bobdebicker4 karma

What fruit that you've hunted is most likely to become a starburst flavor soon?

TheFruitHunters11 karma

I wish jackfruit -- thats where juicyfruit gum got its flavor!

purplemonkeydw4 karma

Which fruit is the hardest to catch? Meaning are some more stealthy than others, while others are faster than some?

TheFruitHunters9 karma

that dang kiwi on fruit ninja!

optiboptimus4 karma

How did you get involved in something like that?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

kind evolution-- came to Hawaii and saw all this stuff going to waste. went to some parties and were given things to try I have had heard of before and I got hooked on it. k

mad2914 karma

Have you ever accidentally made eye contact with another man while eating a banana?

TheFruitHunters9 karma

i leave that up to my wife

PeacekeeperAl4 karma

Hi Ken. What is the rarest and most unusual fruit you have hunted? Also, what do you use to take down your prey?

TheFruitHunters11 karma

Hi, Probably the kokum which is found only in South India -- and now in Kona. First cousin to mangosteen but not as cloyingly sweet..k

TheFruitHunters11 karma

I'll get the fruit down anyway I can but on one kokum hunt I was walking down a trail which turned into a bigger trail and when i went around the bend I was 10' from a wild elephant! He didnt want to share his bouty so we went separate ways (_)-k

NZClimber3 karma

Have you ever had a feijoa? If so, can you please try to describe the flavour. I've moved to the UK and miss them so much, and battle trying to describe them.

TheFruitHunters2 karma

often called the pineapple guava, its kind of like a crunchy pineapple with a guava cinnamon taste-- when soft its way different to me and more like guava with a little citrus taste

bigger_than_my_body3 karma

Do you only hunt organic fruit? Describe your experience eating the best fruit you've encountered. What creative ways can people incorporate more fruit into their diets?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

COuld spend 3 days talking about this one! in terms of organics, is all fruit in the wild organic -- I would hope so but there is no way to tell fro sure. I much prefer it and remember, im collecting specimens to grow in hawaii which will be organic - at least at my place. -- Some fruit is very sour and can be juiced and used instead of vinegar. Fruit can be incorporated with nut cheeses -- being vegan and celiac I've had to find all sorts of things i could eat. fruit & veggie lasagna , pizza-- stir fried loquat & water chestnuts== lots of recipes to play with-k

stairway2114 karma

Do you artificially select the fruit so the next generation will be bigger? Or do you let it continue to grow as if it were wild?

Edit: downvoted for a question??

TheFruitHunters2 karma

if you only graft or clone trees then you never get any genetic diversity. If you only plant seeds then everything is different. Over the years people planted seeds from the largest fruits and then as time went by learned how to propagate those selected trees. Its not much different now than 500 years ago. People want larger fruit to eat but lie in another thread above. the larger the strawberry, the less taste it seems to have. Maybe someone will find a way around that. The approach to each fruit is different

PlentyOfMoxie3 karma

Have you been to The Garden of Forgotten Fruit in Pennabilli, Emiglia-Romagna, Italy? If so, what did you think of it?

TheFruitHunters3 karma

no but next time Im there to see ISabella from the movie, i plan to go-- we did find a lot of unusual figs in the Parma botanical Garden and at a friends farm there.

shouldhaveknowbetter3 karma

Hey Ken, the documentary looks great. I love berries, are there any odd or interesting berries you can reccomend that are not mainstream?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

glad you like the movie. -- depends on how one defines berry. there must be 100 types of rubus or raspberries that taste different. Ohelo berry is the only one native to hawaii. poha berry which is more like a tomatillo. midgen berry from the outback.

pdub18183 karma

Why are Loquat's so hard to find? i used to eat them as a kid in LA (we had a tree) but moved to the north west and no one has heard of them.

TheFruitHunters4 karma

I know what you mean. I had never heard of them until about 35 years ago walking down the street in tokyo when my partner there reached up into a tree and handed me one. in japan you can get them everyplace and they are expensive becasue of the quality -- $50 for 12 fruit and worth every penny of that. No one took the time to develop a commercial market for them but it could happen given time $ and energy

Rapistsmurf3 karma

Are you annoyed by the word "Organic"?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

the way its been bastardized -- yes -- when i see boxes in the store with off color runny ink stamped USDA Organic -- thats like an oxymoron`

neutralmind3 karma

JacoVainglorious9 karma

  1. Wild Mangosteen

Ah, the feral, Jewish mango.

TheFruitHunters3 karma

Does the wild mean its Saphardic?

TheFruitHunters6 karma

ive had all of these very often since I grow them all. ice cream banana is amazing -- you can spread the banana like butter. lanzones.langsat is like a sweet grapefruit they are all really good. had a bunch of star apples last night

Cizzar3 karma

I know what an apple is

TheFruitHunters5 karma

all 1500 types of them?

cspawn3 karma

Any advice on tracking down organic soursop in the US? I'm a produce buyer from a health food store and I've had tons of requests for it, but I can't find it anywhere!

Also, I am getting started in the world of commercial greenhouse hydroponics and I am planning on specializing on unique food among other things. Where is a good place to start hunting down viable seeds of rare varieties?

Thanks for this thread, BTW!

TheFruitHunters4 karma

too bad we cant send it from here -- lots in hawaii but its illegal to ship it outside of the state. You have to try growers in florida and san diego. lots of seed places like fruitlovers.com and some in puerto rice -- good luck

Arematheon3 karma

When you do eventually find that rare fruit within your grasp, how do you treat it? Is it like taking care of the baby, white, albino tiger cub before plucking that fruit and packing it away for all eternity?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

usually we just eat and keep the seeds and map the tree for future use if we want to graft from it. sometimes ill prune off some dead wood or make it look better

Twigglesnix3 karma

how do you pick a good durian?

TheFruitHunters3 karma

smell! color of the shell although some dont start to turn. i like them when they start to split at the bottom.

Twigglesnix2 karma

Thank you, they sell them in NYC but I can't get my head around figuring out how to find the good ones. So far the magic is lost on me. Also, have you been to Ono Farms in Kipahulu on Maui?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

yes to Ono, Chuck the owner is a very old friend and on my board of the state fruit growers group

ep10323 karma

Do you ever travel to a new country and just think "Damn, I'm really sick of eating so much fruit?"

TheFruitHunters4 karma

not yet -- i do crave carbs and eat too much rice, quinoa though

cuzzard2 karma

I'm in Canada and you didn't find ME!

TheFruitHunters9 karma

We found Bob Bors from the University of Saskatchewan and his HASKAPS. Amazing arctic berry coveted in Hokkaido, Japan. - Y

TheFruitHunters3 karma

I'll be in Hokkaido in Nov. Y.. watching mangos growing in the snow-k

TheFruitHunters3 karma

sorry i just do the tropics! Yung does Canada (_)- K

tingatingo2 karma

Whats your stand on vegetables!

TheFruitHunters6 karma

I love veggies. But when I think about broccoli, I don't get turned-on like I do when I think about persimmons or figs. Right Ken? We love fruit because they are bred to seduce us. The thesis of my film. - Y

TheFruitHunters2 karma

Im vegan so I love them! -- I trade fruit to veggie farmers -k

6tacocat92 karma

How many durian fruits do you eat a week?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

as many as possible!- Last year it was a good year so I had 12 in one week. During the filming of the movie we had a durian tail gate party on the back of my truck at the airport

jasnooo2 karma

Any fruits you'd recommend for a southern California homeowner looking to try something new?

You already responded to another question regarding poisonous fruits, but I'm curious - what kind of scrutiny do fruits undergo before opening them up to a larger audience? I'd worry that a new fruit, while not making you immediately sick, might cause problems later on, from mutagenic compounds, allergic reactions, or from interactions with drugs. For instance, I know that there are many local berries(manzanita or hollywood berries) that are fine in limited amounts, but eating too many will exceed your body's ability to clear cyanide.

Was there ever a fruit you ran across that was delicious, yet toxic?

The first exotic fruit I ever tasted was a cherimoya from a farmer's market in central California. It absolutely blew my mind. Where would you rate cherimoyas in the pantheon of fruit?

TheFruitHunters5 karma

its not up to me to open up fruits to large audiences, i just want to find plant and eat them. It also depends on how one defines toxic. Cherimoya isnt butits seeds can be -- same with any of the annona fruits. I love cherimoya but like rollina even more. In Socal, I would contact the local CRFG -- calif. rare fruit growers and see what your neighbors have success with. Talk to the nurserys down there too. try the crfg.org website first.

LitAFartOnce2 karma

  1. What is the main purpose of your venture?

  2. Do the fruits of your labor include any monetary benefits?

  3. How long has it taken you to see your film come to fruition?

TheFruitHunters3 karma

  1. This film has been 3 years in the making! Hope you get to check it out! -Y

Mynameismayo1 karma

whats the weirdest fruit youve tasted/smelled/experienced? (my money is on the durian)

TheFruitHunters2 karma

durian ranks up there but marang fruit or pedalai would too. marang is Artocarpus oderatisimuss.

bearded1 karma

Have you found anything more disgusting (either smell or taste) than the durian?

TheFruitHunters3 karma

durian never bothered me although I can see how some are -- try ripe noni fruit for a truly bad time!

GDHPNS1 karma

Have you had a Puero Rican Quenepa before? One of those and some Malta Goya would be fantastic right now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melicoccus_bijugatus

TheFruitHunters2 karma

wish we had more Quenepa -- spanish lime - in HAwaii. I dont have one but frankies nursery in honolulu does so i get them from him.

disposablethoughts1 karma

Are you the Ken in "Ken's Red Kiwi"? I've been wanting to try it out badly after seeing it in an online store, but ran across this AMA. It sounds possible, so I figured I'd ask. If so, could you tell me about that discovery?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

nope not me -- have not had one to try yet either. I named a few avocados after friends but nothing for me yet ..

TIGit1 karma

How exactly did you start this career? A specific degree field, or springboard job? Or just wild entrepreneurial spirit?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

a little of all i guess - it just sort of evolved. I wanted to see small farmers to be able to be sustainable and this is a tool for achieving that goal in Hawaii and a few other places.

whatisthatacat1 karma


TheFruitHunters1 karma

loquat pie is great - chutney is amazing as is using it in stir fry. Loquat leaf tea is very popular too and used for 5000 years in China.i also like grumichama in tarts/pies

Kubrik271 karma

What is the most delicious sour fruit?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

i like bilimbi

stevo061 karma

I've been trying to find these available in the States for years - any ideas of where I can find them or perhaps what I should be looking for specifically. The fruit has many nicknames it seems... guineps is what I remember them by from the Dominican Republic.


TheFruitHunters2 karma

spanish lime or quenpa -- try puerto rican stores or the miami fruit and spice park -- some people can find them at farmers markets in florida so the fruit grower groups there can help too.

princesspancakes1 karma

What is the most delicious fruit you have ever tasted?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

mentioned a few about but abiurana is one -- it changes weekly though!

osivert1 karma

I was just in Maui and all the fruit was pretty expensive, even at the farmer's markets. It seems like they would have a ton of Mango and Pineapple for cheap, so why is it still expensive there compared to California?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

its off season for mango and pine apple -- if you came in june and july its usually a little cheaper. STILL, the ones in calif or shipped in from Mexico and elsewhere where the cost of production is next to nothing. To farm in hawaii costs more than 10 times more than anyplace else. it costs me $2 to grow a lb of lychee but you can buy it from thailand for 50¢ -- until the boats and planes stop -- we have to support and do more to protect local ag.

alamotexas1 karma

Is there a fruit that you don't like?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

governors plum just doesnt do it for me

chrsis1 karma


TheFruitHunters1 karma

not up to me but i would guess its ok. Maybe TFN can do this sometimes too.

wanders_onto_topic1 karma

Hey so anyway, the other day I went to the doctor and he says to me "Sorry about this wanders_onto_topic, unfortunately your test results havent come back yet", its like wow I paid 70 clams for this bull!@#& and he couldve just called me? Anyway I hit up my hot and totally real girlfriend and I'm walking over the road and this large fruit truck comes out of nowhere. It stops so I cross over no probs, I see trucks every day. Reminds me of this one truck I saw at a pit stop. This guy had dinosaur stickers all over his window, not that practical I thought - everyone knows that you go for the stained-glass style stickers since you can see through them. What new fruit was the most disapointing to you (excluding ones most people have eaten, like apples, peaches etc. etc.)?

TheFruitHunters3 karma

have had some pretty horrid stuff liek cannonball, calabash, sausage tree fruit which is really famin food -k

vainamo-1 karma

This is awesome! Thanks for doing this. I am a fruit hunter too, but on a very limited budget.

I tried a fruit in Central America (it may not have been native there though) and I have been unable to find it in any literature. It was a member of genus Garcinia and had yellow flesh inside. The strange thing was, that while you could clearly see the difference between what would be the purple part of a Mangosteen and what would be the white part, they were both the same schoolbus yellow color and edible in this fruit. The skin was green, and the fruit was sweet and a little tart like a mango.

EDIT: added info, the skin was smooth so It was not gambogia, it was green skinned, so I don't think it was Kola.

Does anyone have any idea what this fruit was?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

there are a few types like this

Garcina dulcis -- yellow thin skinned but larger than mangosteen Garcina cowa -- small yellow fruits in south and central america there is rheeda which are now all garcinia and it could have been one of them too like rheedia edulis or brasilliensis

Mordredbas1 karma

You get paid for this?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

i should be so lucky! nope not a dime!

alfalfa19851 karma

Have you tried lucuma from Peru?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

yeas i have some lucma trees -- very good to work with. i dry it and use it to sweeten some things too

ViewGator911 karma

Would you consider yourself fruitarian and do you know some of the other "leaders" of the raw food world?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

Im not fruitarian but a lot of friends are or are 100% raw -- Im maybe only 50% raw, vegan and have to be celiac. My biography will be called he fat vegan! I do write for Dave Kleins Vibraance magazine and know DOug Grapham. Plan to be at the woodstock fruit festival in Aug. too.k Hope Yung can make it as well

greenbut1 karma

When i travel i always like pocketing seeds but i know you can get a hefty fine. Have you ever had trouble traveling with seeds? do you declare them at airports?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

I have permits from the USDA and it is fairly simple to get and no or very little cost. Just have to find where on the USDA APHIS website. There are some things that cannot come in like citrus, coconut and banana but others are ok with the permits.

sbarret1 karma

Have you been to Brazil? We have a lot of fruits that nobody heard of - not even here. There are the fruits from Cerrado, the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest, each ecosystem with a tremendous variety.

I love some fruits that Americans don't even think about - like Cashew or the Cacao fruits, or the delicious Acerola. Not to mention Jaboticaba...

TheFruitHunters2 karma

I have a lot of friends there and family outside of rio but have not been sent there yet. Still, many of the fruit have been in Hawii for many years, I have a dozen different types of jaboticaba.

bimshire1 karma

How do I deter monkeys from eating all my fruit?! It's driving me crazy - I get nothing.

I recently started taking an interest in fruit, as my wife and I inherited a house with a beautiful mature garden of fruit trees, many of which are new to me.

If you're interested, we've got sea grapes, jamoons, mangoes (several types) sugar apples, soursops, a type of small banana known as a fig, pawpaws, barbados cherry, guava, breadfruit, breadnut, golden apples, limes, passion fruit, portugals, oranges, and hog plums.

All I get is limes, and a few mangoes

TheFruitHunters2 karma

not a problem we have here but i would guess it depends on local laws. I had a fight with a monkey over loquat in the hills a few hours outside of banagalore. it was a draw -- in some places they bag fruits while they are growing on the tree and you may have to try that -- see what commercial orchards are doing in your area and that might help

babushka1 karma

Have you tried bael fruit from India? I know it's not uncommon or anything but do you know what fruit is similar to it in taste and texture? And if it's available anywhere in the US?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

love bael and had it many times in india but the onbe in floridas miami fruit and spice park is the best

efizzy1 karma

Which is th most disappointing fruit you ever found, taste wise?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

governors plum is horrid to me

potatoaster1 karma

Mangosteens are nicknamed the "Queen of Fruit". How much truth is there to this moniker?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

im the wrong person to ask -- they re too sweet for me!

sheogor1 karma

would you ever do a extreme episode and try gympie-gympie?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

nope - read too many horror stories about this to want to deal with it -- never saw one either

inumanus1 karma

Do you know Butiá? It's my favorite fruit, I live in Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul. I think it's a little obscure fruit, but is crazy delicious.

TheFruitHunters2 karma

very nice palm fruit -- we dont have so many in hawaii though

VAtradition241 karma

Have you ever tried Urban Foraging?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

I'm from Chicago and used to take my kids cub scout troop around to do it. Amazing what you can find in the big city that is good to eat. Still wish I could grow lambs quarters here-k

BarryMcKockinner1 karma

With a name and profession like that, what's your best pickup line?

TheFruitHunters5 karma

well in the 60s I was free love but now that I'm 60 I have to charge for it!!

allentomdude1 karma

If you were to get into the fruit growing business in the mainland US, what would be the most profitable fruit to grow?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

never just 1,, as many different as you can -- you must diversify by season and by variety to be profitable as a farmer. thinkn of it in terms of economics. if we dont make farming profitable no one will do it. its easier to sell a little of many things that a ton of any one thing - sometimes -- other times you have to worry about weather -- a storm comes and blows the flowers off your peach trees -- you have no crop that year -- but with many varieties that flower at different times -- you wont loose everything-k

alcoholland1 karma

This is a real job? How do I get into it? I work in wine because it allowed me to discover new flavors.

TheFruitHunters2 karma

I have to spend more time writing grants and writing papers nd books for different universities -- thats what lets me do this.. its a job but its work -- k

armchairepicure1 karma

Have you tried waterberries, and if so, were? If I wanted to track down a Mountain Fly Honeysuckle (Lonicera villosa), how would I go about doing that?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

dont really know them as i specialize in tropical fruit although it might be known by another name. Often the same fruit can have a dozen different names in different locations. The Lonicera villosa is native to MAine I think so I would start with the university extension office there. They should be able to tell you how to get one. Been 40 years since I was there!

crispyatheist1 karma

Have you tried our DURIAN FRUIT in the Philippines?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

yes, in the PI and everywhere else it grows. I'll be in Davao and los Banos in OCt.

lawlshane1 karma

Best fruit to get in Toronto?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

have not been there in a long time but Im sure you can find rambutan, lychee and other fruit at the Asian markets

fer_d1 karma

Have you tried pitanga and butiá? If jabuticaba is one of your favorites, these should be on your list.

TheFruitHunters2 karma

grow a lot of them, especially pitanga -- we call surinam cherry. The univ. has a variety trial now for black varieties. butiá is more rare here but some of the plams are around.
Just had dried pitanga rolled up into candy yesterday-- chefs really love this here.

fer_d2 karma

green with envy... had butiá my entire childhood, but now living thousands of miles away... never get to have it. We had a pitanga tree in our backyard.

TheFruitHunters2 karma

not sure where you are but ive seen pitanga growing in Calif in temperate areas and also insidein pots where you could get some fruit-k

Burgher_NY1 karma

Does the old axiom "the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice" hold true?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

In many cases like surinam cherry,, yes its true, it can also depedn on how berry is defined.-- but darker usually means its more ripe and on the tree/bush longer meaning more sugar has developed.-k

ohihaveasubscription1 karma

You're like a real life Toriko

TheFruitHunters1 karma

kind of I guess -- haven't read one in a long time.

Cooknbikes1 karma

Most expensive Japanese melon is very round.

TheFruitHunters2 karma

these special musk melons are incrediblly delicious

Wooden_butt_plug1 karma

Silly question, but I mean it in earnest. With eating these strange fruits in foreign lands, how many times have you pooped yourself? Seems like a real concern.

TheFruitHunters5 karma

Never had a problem -- I can say in india though that you want to take your TP with you since they dont use it. Because I have celiac disease if i get contaminated with gluten then I can use what your handle name is!

mudbat1 karma

Are there any hardy exotic fruits that could be grown outdoors in colder climates (such as in northern US states like Minnesota? I know this is probably a long shot, but thought I'd ask anyway. Thank you.

TheFruitHunters1 karma

lots of berries and thinsg like haskap -- check with the univ. local extension office and they should be able to help.

10ent1 karma

Fascinating, thanks for the ama!

TheFruitHunters1 karma


jcaldeira1 karma

How are exotic varieties of mango and other fruit developed?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

the varieties just happened naturally over time -- they were seedlings that people decided were worth perpetuating so then they were grafted or cloned in other ways -- but 99% started from seeds --the others may have been intentionally bred like what burbank did to get santa rosa plum

oledirty1 karma

What is that really disgusting fruit found in Cambodia called?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

good question-- can you describe it

DogPencil1 karma

I like oranges. Do you?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

doesnt everyone? even the annoying orange


Have you ever had a Leichi berry? Those things are super rare, from what I hear.

TheFruitHunters2 karma

lychee or lichee is common in many places including here in Hawaii. Its a totally amazing fruit and one of the best in the world. You can get canned ones in many markets but wash all the syrup off. They are often served in Chinese restaurants too

Misaniovent1 karma

I love cashews and I was surprised to learn that they are part of something called a cashew apple. Ever had it?

TheFruitHunters3 karma

we grow a few cashews in Hawaii. the apple itself is edible but the nut is toxic unless its processed. I've made jelly from the apple part which is great but the fumes when its processed are really bad. Its related to poison ivy and mango etc.k

MartinSchou1 karma

Why is it called hunting? Unless you're hunting Killer Tomatoes, wouldn't it more accurately be described as gathering?

And while I realize that it requires more of an effort than just walking into a field, I've yet seen anyone refer to coleopterists as butterfly hunters, and I've seen those guys running around with nets, trying to catch butterflies, but last I checked fruit tends to be extremely stationary.

TheFruitHunters1 karma

You really have to ask Adam who wrote the book and coined the phase. My guess is because there are a bunch of us to travel around the world trying to find unusual fruit. and hunting can imply in search of. k

Fender61871 karma

I'm sorry Liberace is dead. He would have made an excellent exotic fruit for your collection.

TheFruitHunters1 karma

there is always michael douglas

ProfessorPaulKrugman1 karma

Hi Ken,

Why haven't you found a strawberry the size of my head? It seems we could have world peace if people had head sized strawberries.

TheFruitHunters5 karma

most men will tell you size isn't everything (_)

ProfessorPaulKrugman1 karma

I guess. But still, I'd appreciate a head sized strawberry.

Anyway, in your adventures... what is the closest you've come to death or serious peril?

TheFruitHunters3 karma

The larger the strawberry seems to get, the less flavor it seems to have -- You should seek out and try these tiny things in japan that really are amazing. I've never had such an intense flavor in a strawberry. They put the flavor of US production to shame. == Never really had problems although in Thailand once I was walking around in some jungle and saw signs to please be aware of the tigers.. k

ptownBlazers1 karma

Do you go by Ken Love because you don't want people to misread you as Kevin Love the Pro Baller from the 'Wolves?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

Sorry, dont know kevin or the wolves. Not related to Mike Love of the Beach Boys or Bob Love of the Bulls either.

FulcrumPoint1 karma

Have you ever come across any fruit that was dangerous, or for that matter, how do you know if what you come across is edible?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

lots of study and lots of reference books -- especially for the area in which your going -- I'll research in a variety of languages too.k

soshun1 karma

Can you give some of your favorite documentaries? Like a top 5-10 maybe? And what about non-documentary films?

TheFruitHunters4 karma

Too many! Check out Lonely Boy (free on National Film Board of Canada site), Little Dieter Needs to Fly by Herzog, Big River Man by John Marangouin, Garlic is as Good as Two Mothers by Les Blank, Naked Island by Kaneto Shindō (not really a doc but kind of is a doc). There's also the epic docs by Wang Bing. Fiction films is like eating fruit. There's a flavour of the month for me. Right now I'm re-digging the French New Wave films. Anything by Truffaut like Shoot the Piano Player and the 400 Blows. Films by Eric Rohmer. Check out Chinese films by Jia Zhang Ke, Hou-Hsiao Hsien, and Edward Yang. Uncle Boonmee by Apitchapong. The list goes on!

tingatingo1 karma

How do you combat things like the citrus disease that's been affecting Florida oranges?

TheFruitHunters5 karma

We have the vector but not the disease (HLB-Citrus greening) in Hawaii. Its very scary right now especially since the government really doesn't care about it-- There are many studies that say the disease can be carried in the seeds and even with all my permits to move plant material around the world, i cant bring seeds back from Florida to Hawaii -- YET, they can send 14 million pounds of tangerines here from Fla. with seeds. Guess Im not paying off the right people!-k

tianxia1 karma

Hey Ken, I work in Thailand right now and wanted to ask you what is the best tasting fruit I can find in the streets of Bangkok?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

i like langsat or duku there as well as durian of course. There are other types in the small markets in bangkok like rambai and rambutan relatives that are great too. Now is durian time though so you should be able to get really good ones, especially in Chang mai

tianxia1 karma

Do you like fresh durian, or the fruit-roll-up-like processed durian? My co-workers share the latter with me, and I've gotten hooked! Also have you ever tried durian chips? The crunch is addicting. Thanks for the suggestion, it took me a while to figure out which fruit you were talking about. Here langsat is known as "longkong," but its a tad too sweet for me!

TheFruitHunters2 karma

I think ive had durian in every way shape or form possible. I do keep rolls of the paste here that I buy in LA since we dont have fresh year around. Do love the chips too -- most of them -- some have too much oil taste. freeze dried is also nice. A few weeks ago I was in Thai town in LA with Bill PUllman and Chef Ernie who can also be seen in the film.. We gorged on freeze dried durian and mangosteen and salak candy-k

Jilleh-bean1 karma

Isn't durian that one that tastes like rotten meat?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

more like good cheese

missing_limb1 karma

Have you tried any jambul fruit? What are your thoughts on this fruit? I have a mature tree that bears this fruit in my backyard in calif.

TheFruitHunters4 karma

jambubl or jambu or jamon are called different things in different locations so im not sure which your talking about but ive had them all. Usually in calif and india jambul is Syzgium cumini often called duhat in other places. its an aquired taste but I like it alot and have a lot of trees from Indian varieties which are larger fruit and really tasty with less astringency.k

taarok1 karma

have you ever had the small oaxacan mango that is eaten by just sucking out its juice?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

A lot of mangos are like that --here, in a good year they are called peach mangos -- in a bad year turpentine mangos -- ate a bunch of them yesterday!

elliottw4201 karma


I used to be a produce buyer for an ethnic supermarket and by far my favorite fruit was rambutan. Have you tried it? How feasible would it be to cultivate it where I live (mid-Atlantic United States).

I used to slip some in my pocket during workbecause they sold for a whopping $25/lb. I know they grow in southeastern Asia, but are there other places they grow?

TheFruitHunters3 karma

we have a large thriving rambutan industry in Hawaii-- pretty common here retailing for around $6 a lb -- we usually sell it for 25¢ a fruit at farmers markets. it is very tropical so you woul dhave to move here and by a farm. they even have trouble in florida with it.k

Jmgill121 karma

I'm a Timberwolves fan and I read that as Kevin Love. Even though I realize I was mistaken, I will still ask you my question i originally wanted to.

Do you think that you'll resign with Minnesota after your current contract is up? What about your player option for 2015-2016 season, do you think you'll pick that up?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

depends on the salary! Yung -- your in MN all the time -- maybe you should sign!

razors991 karma

What is the sweetest, juiciest, candy-like fruit you've ever come across in your travels?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

abiurana which tastes like caramel,vanilla, sweet lemon custard pudding!

duckfacelove1 karma

durian.. thoughts?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

love it, smell does not bother me-- if someone wants to try something really stinky they should try ripe noni!

sohereitis1 karma

Over 30 years ago while in Jamaica I was introduced - once - to a fruit called a Nizberry. I remember it was about the size of a Kiwi and tasted like cake. Are you familiar with it?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

nesberry is chikuor chico. we call it brown sugar chico here. great fruit that I really love -- its also where the first chewing gum came from.

puyopop991 karma

Are you a durian fan or not? And have you tried durian ice cream?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

love it -- make durian ice cream, cake and other stuff when we have enough fresh ones although usually i just eat fresh ones or chips and paste when not in season

skinny_bitches1 karma

Alphonso mango is the most delicious fruit I have tried. Do you have a favourite?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

I like alphonso too but also totapuri and other INdian types but basicall i never met a mango i didnt like!

MisterRaad1 karma

What fruit surprised you the most? Did anything look absolutely inedible, have a horrible smell or anything else, but still taste good?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

guess I"m jaded at this point-- some things smell better than others -- some smell great but have little or no taste like thimble berries. somethings look really wierd but taste great like rollinia

tetracycloide1 karma

Gamgyul is the best orange I've ever had in my life. Where could I find better ones or can I die happy, secure in the knowledge that I've experienced the best orange this planet has to offer?

TheFruitHunters1 karma

its a great korean orange hybrid. It might be part satsuma tangerine but i cant remember. I liek dekopon in Japan alot too -- when they are off the tree and not commerical

stevexc1 karma

I didn't see this answered yet - what's your favorite fruit, period? Like, if you could only have one more fruit, and it has to be one you've already tried, what would you pick?

Also on the flip side, are there any fruits out there you haven't found yet but are excited to try?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

its impossible and being gemini i can at least have 2 fruit favorites and being year of the dragon 2 more so -- jaboticaba, jackfruit, abiurana rollina -- for the tropics -- temperate zones - figs, grapes, pomegranates. for up north, peaches, pears and berries--

I plan to look for more types of artocarpus (jackfruit family) and garcinia (mangosteen family) in INdia next year

cutiebuns1 karma

What is the worst fruit (in your opinion) you have eaten?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

never liked governors plum although friends tell me I just haven't had a good one yet

soshun1 karma

What is your favorite rare fruit and what is your favorite "mainstream" fruit? Which one do you like more (if you can pick)

TheFruitHunters1 karma

see above -- its impossible for me to have 1 favorite.

kimsubong1 karma

Do you know what this fruit is? Here is a pic of the inside - it's basically like a fig. Found in the jungles of Northern Thailand, outside Chiang Mai.

TheFruitHunters2 karma

dont know it but your right that it has to be some type of ficus. looks pretty good too. if you search edible ficus you might be able to find it. are there pictures of hte leaves and trunk too?

tropicalicali0 karma

Hi all, loved the Fruit Hunters! Will you be announcing more US screening dates soon? Please come back to Raleigh/Durham, NC area!

TheFruitHunters1 karma

I wish - it will be on DVD in July I heard -k Yung would know better

TheFruitHunters2 karma

Thanks for going to see the film! Additional screenings in the works. See Docurama, our distributor's site http://www.docuramafest.com/fruit-hunters/ Also super interesting initiative with TUGG to arrange screenings within communities. Check out the links to TUGG. THANKS!!!

ninethreeseven0 karma

Hi! Loved the documentary.

Two questions for you:

  1. My dad planted a heritage apple tree, and I am trying to find out the variety. I've done some online research but haven't been able to find anything close to it. Any resources you could point me to?

(The apples are really small, maybe 1/3 - 1/2 the size of a typical apple. Dark red/purple skin that is slightly covered in bloom. When polished, the skin gets SUPER glossy. The flesh is very very crisp, acidic, and sweet. Sometimes parts of the flesh are almost translucent.)

  1. I noticed that there we no pomelos from the US this year at any of the grocery stores in Ottawa this year; only Chinese pomelos were available. Do you know if it was a bad year for pomelos?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

glad you liked the movie! It was really fun to work with yung and bill and others -- Check with USDA in Ithaca NY apple collection -- send lots of pix of the fruit inside and out and leaves and trees and maybe someone there can help.

Great year for pummelos but it comes down to cost -- shipping something from China is cheaper -- some stores here in hawaii sell imported ones too which drives me nuts.-k

tingatingo0 karma

How do you keep animals like squirrels away from your fruit trees?

TheFruitHunters2 karma

no squirrels in Hawaii but rats and birds are a problem -- sometimes have to cover the fruit with bags which also helps with flavor as well as protects them from birds.