Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hawaii Island's Exotic Breadfruit


At once exotic, erotic and evocative, breadfruit (known as ulu in Hawaiian) is rooted in absolute practicality and sustenance. The breadfruit tree is tall and proud, with a lush canopy of uniquely formed foliage which shields its large, round globes of green fruit. The tree is not indigenous to the state, but rather, was imported to the Hawaiian Islands via canoe by the first Polynesian settlers from regions in the South Pacific. A staple of these ancient Hawaiians’ diet, ulu is a nutritious starchy melon of light yellow flesh. When roasted and eaten before it is fully ripe, ulu not only feels like fresh bread, but smells and tastes a lot like bread as well, explaining its name.  Prized for its life sustaining fruit, the ulu tree also is sought out for its wood. Extremely light, the wood is highly valued by artisans who for centuries have used it to construct everything from outrigger canoes, surfboards and drums to bowls and artwork. Artists of nearly every medium – watercolor and oil paintings, ceramics, textile prints and quilts – depict the beauty of the tree’s foliage and fruit in many of their pieces. Look for the unmistakable broad, bold leaf patterns and voluptuous fruit in various works of art found in galleries and boutiques scattered throughout the island, including many of the studios right here in Holualoa town! It’s just a short jaunt up Holualoa Inn’s entry drive to Mamalahoa Highway where your gallery hopping begins.  


Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

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