Lulo Growing in Oregon

Debi McGuire of West Linn, OR recently sent us the following report and photos on her successful cultivation of the fruit ‘lulo’ in her local community garden:

Thought you’d like to see how my plants are doing. I have a 20×20 space in a community garden. It’s been fun showing fellow gardeners these beautiful and unusual plants! I have flowers but don’t know if I’ll get fruit. Hope so! Mahalo for the seeds and fun!

We were delighted to receive Debi’s report. The photos were taken at the end of August and, if the Pacific NW has a warm and sunny September, Debi will likely be harvesting her lulo in October.

Lulo is native to the Andean regions of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, and is a close relative of the tomato. The plant, which can be grown where tomatoes are grown, has beautiful broad green leaves with purple veins. The fruit (similar in size to tomatoes) is orange-skinned with interior flesh that is luminescent green. Lulo is most commonly used for a bracing smoothie-type drink known as ‘Fresco de Lulo’. As popular as this drink is in Latin America, it is surprising how few North Americans have tasted the drink or heard of the fruit.

We maintain about 75 lulo plants here at Rancho Aloha and work hard at introducing lulo to Kona residents and to visitors. Debi learned about lulo at the Rancho Aloha booth at the Keauhou Farmers Market (Saturdays, 8AM to noon, year-round).

When you are next in Kona, please stop by the Farmers Market to sample the fruit and enjoy the delicious taste of Fresco de Lulo.

Rancho Aloha’s Recipe for Fresco De Lulo:

  1. Cut open 2 ripe tomato-sized lulos
  2. Scoop out the flesh and put in a blender with about 12 ounces of water (or milk) and sugar to taste (1 Tbsp. or so)
  3. Blend, strain the liquid to remove seeds, pour over ice into a large glass
  4. Enjoy highland Colombia’s favorite fruit drink!
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