As anybody visiting or living on Kaua’i (or any of the Hawaiian islands, I assume) has noticed, the summer of 2015 has been an incredible year for lychee fruit. Trees all over my neighborhood are covered in lychee, and it has been lasting for over 2 months.
It really is spectacular in that trees that I didn’t even know were lychee are all bearing fruit. The tree is rather medium-sized and non-descript, and since it doesn’t fruit every year, they just look like nice ornamental trees in someone’s front yard. But this year they are full of red fruit and impossible to miss. The mainly-Japanese families who settled my neighborhood in the 1950s knew what they were doing, and their foresight is our delight this year.
We don’t have a tree ourselves, but I can see at least 5 of them on our street, and several neighbors have been sharing their fruit. One friend has many trees, and I went over several times to pick, first from the ground, then on a ladder, then with a pole on the ladder. As more and more fruit ripen, and people get tired of them, I’ve been able to pick bigger and bigger bags full. In any case, I’m not getting tired of eating them:
The previous picture is about 30 pounds (13.5 kg) of lychee. We ended up freezing a lot of them.
I assume that the second year of El Niño conditions has triggered the fruiting. 2015 is the first official El Niño year of the cycle, but we had a very similar dry winter followed by a wet spring and early summer as in 2014. In any case, we started picking and eating lychee from neighbors in the middle of May, and many trees are still bearing fruit. Over the months, different trees have ripened in succession, so we were able to taste and compare the flavor of several varieties (bumpy or smooth skin, firm or juicy flesh, more sugary or more tangy).
Oh, and it’s also been a good year for mangos: