Have you ever tasted a dragonfruit?
First time I was asked this was the when I was in Sydney for a business trip. I said “dragon what?” I thought it was a metaphorical question, but then the person who asked me was my boss who was definitely not into Game of Thrones. I watched him eat the unique-looking spikey colorful fruit for breakfast as I settled for kiwi.
Fast forward three years later and I read that the Three Lucky Mountains Dragonfruit Farm was walking distance away from the Numana Farm where we were staying for the weekend. And because we were already in the area, I pedalled away to the dragonfruit farm that fine Saturday afternoon.
We got there half past four, and the farm was not something to miss. At the entrance we saw rowa of dragonfruit plants, a huge warehouse where flags of different countries were posted. Luckily the farm manager, Nel, was able to accommodate our last minute visit. He gave us a quick tour and answered all our questions, which was very nice of him as we truly learned a lot that afternoon.
The Three Lucky Mountains Dragonfruit Farm started operations in 2015. It started when his uncle transplanted a dragonfruit cutting that he got from the northern province of Ilocos. To date, this farm boasts of having the most number of dragonfruit varieties in the world – 156 varieties to be exact. And it has become the go to farm of different countries who import varieties of cuttings from Three Lucky Mountains. Thus the world flags posted on the facade of their warehouse.
There are several colors of the dragonfruit in the farm: like violet, pink and orange. The most marketable dragonfruit are the red ones, and the high end ones are the yellow ones. We bought a kilo each of the red and yellow dragonfruits. Dragonfruit is loaded with fiber and is good to the gut, a rich source of magnesium, boosts the immune system, and helps prevent chronic diseases. I asked Nel why some people describe the taste as bland, and he said the trick is to make sure to pluck the fruit when it is ripe. The bland taste happens when the fruit is harvested semi-ripe and the ripening happens while it is stored.
There are two ways that the farm plants the dragonfruit. The first is Vietnames style where there are four plants per post. Then there is the Israel trellis type which is easier to maintain and manage as there are 20 plants per post. The Three Lucky Mountains is an organic farm, so they take extra care so that the fruits do not get infested with fungi and virus (notice the fruits are enclosed in plastic).
- The flower of the dragonfruit opens at 8PM and closes at 3AM.
- The dragonfruit plants need luminence, and the lean months for harvest are the Ber months where sunlight tends to be shortest.
- They need little water as they are like cactus. Hence the sloping terrain in the farm helps wash out the water quickly during rainy season.
- Like the cactus they also have thorns. I cut my finger twice while opening a couple of fruit. They can be opened by slicing them in the middle, or peeling them like a banana. But carefully do it or end up with cuts like me.
So here’s the verdict on how we found the first dragonfruits we have eaten from this farm: we loved it! It tasted like a hint of kiwi, but not too sweet. D liked it so much he almost ate them all. Would we buy this again? Definitely!