Heart of Palm

Palm trees can actually provide us with food. I had never known this until today. Inside the plant is what’s called the “Heart of Palm,” a soft, white, mild-flavored vegetable. My friend, Kaden, commented that it tasted almost like cauliflower. In the case of farming, the plant is only allowed to grow 3-4 meters tall and then it is harvested. Otherwise, it would turn into the hard palm trees that line tropical streets, and that are much more difficult to process.

A major difference between heart of palm and coffee farming is the time frame surrounding each crop. For heart of palm, the seed is planted and harvesting takes place within 7 months. Coffee, on the other hand, has to develop for 3 years before it can be harvested, and then a new generation of plants replaces the older ones every 25 years. Additionally, heart of palm can be harvested year-round, while coffee has only a 4-month harvest period: from October to the end of January.

The climate is also drastically different. Coffee is only grown on the Pacific side of the continental divide, which is drier than the Caribbean side which is better for heart of palm. As they say, the Caribbean side has a wet season, and then a wetter season.

Although we didn’t discuss challenges related to the logistics of distributing heart of palm, I would imagine it can be difficult to store the vegetable as it’s quite large. Compared to a smaller, round orange, for example, the long heart of palm appears clunky and as if it would be a hassle to deal with. That’s just one idea.

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