In a year when the country is celebrating the opening of its first indoor coconut farm, Wellington, and a national celebration of the first commercial commercial coconut processing facility, there is one question people want answered: “What do I do when my coconut is dead?”
In a world of rapid technological change, and growing awareness of the environmental impacts of coconut consumption, questions like this are becoming more common.
For years, many people have struggled with the concept of “how do I tell coconut that it’s done?”
Many say they can’t stop thinking about it.
“When you think about it, it’s hard to say goodbye,” said Lisa.
“I don’t want to go back to thinking about the coconut that was there, I just want to know that it was gone and that it is gone.”
For Lisa, it was hard not to wonder if she was the only one who had died from coconut consumption.
“My mum was a very happy and healthy person and she had a big coconut in her house, she was so happy,” said she.
“And I was always going to eat coconut and if it was on the table then I’m OK, but if it wasn’t then I wasn’t going to put it on the dinner table.”
She was happy and she’d never say anything negative about coconut but she wouldn’t say it was bad or not good.
“So Lisa, with her mum, began thinking about what it would be like to put a coconut in the kitchen.
When the box is open, it just kind of fills up the fridge and the box fills up my kitchen. “
I just wanted to put the box away and leave the coconut there to rot,” she said.
“When the box is open, it just kind of fills up the fridge and the box fills up my kitchen.
I put the coconut inside, it is just a matter of putting the box in the freezer and then putting it in a bag and putting it into the freezer.”
Lisa had also tried drying her coconut by hand, but it wasn, for her, “just too expensive”.
So she started her own dry fruit processing business.
With a focus on sustainability, she had made a business out of buying, drying and preserving the coconut.
The business started with just a handful of people, and now employs almost 10 people.
“We’re very small, but we’ve done a lot with our money,” said Ms Collins.
“The money we’ve got now is all from this one shop, which is a small operation.
It’s a little bit more than I’d have been able to have done last year.””
We just make sure that our ingredients are sourced locally and we don’t go and buy ingredients that we think are bad,” she added.
The food is made using natural ingredients like coconut husk, peat moss, and fresh herbs.
The company’s focus is on using sustainable practices and organic ingredients.
In the process of processing, Ms Collins says, she has learnt to work more collaboratively and more productively with her customers.
“It’s not just the ingredients, we’re also the people, so that’s really important,” she explained.
“We’re just making sure that we’re making a good product, that we’ve been given a good process and that we have good processes.”
In the end, the decision to use the dried fruit as the base for a coconut milk and coconut oil is one of the main reasons that Lisa and her business, The Coconut Farm, are successful.
“Our business is about having a good, healthy relationship with our food,” said Miss Collins.
“That is how you create sustainable communities.
We want to be as organic as we can be.”
But the biggest part of the business is the coconut milk.
“If we have a coconut and we’re doing it right, the milk will come out as white, as pure, as fresh as it can possibly be,” said Mr Collins.
But while it’s easy to take a dried coconut and make something that looks like it could be a healthy, nutritious product, it can be a difficult task when the coconut is no longer edible.
“A lot of times, we’ll have to use other coconut products in our recipes,” said Dr Collins.
She explained that dried coconut has the ability to give the appearance of a high level of nutrients, while it contains very little.
“Dried coconut has more vitamin C than any other vegetable or fruit that you can find,” said Professor Collins.
The good news, she said, is that the dry fruit can be stored for a long time, and can then be used again.
“You can use the coconut in coconut milk, you can use it in coconut oil, you could even use it to make a smoothie,” she continued.
“All the things that we do in this business that are being done now, we would not have been doing in the past, and that’s because of the amount of coconut we’ve grown