THE COCONUT GROOVE STORY
I first stumbled across coconut water in the days of my youth while working
for a time in Fiji, or rather working most of the time around the islands
scattered offshore from Viti Levu, the main island.
I and several others were living on the "Romunda", a converted 40 metre Fairmile Class Cruiser originally built during WW2 as a submarine chaser and escort vessel. We were on location in the Pacific Islands filming the TV series "Adventures of the Seaspray". The "Seaspray" in the series being the renamed "Fifeath Ban" a beautiful 26 metre Topsail Schooner from New Zealand.
"Seaspray" derigged, refurbished and on charter in 2010
Occasionally, when filming on one of the beautiful tropical islands, a local boy would lop the tops of freshly picked green coconuts with his machete and hand them round for the crew to drink the cool refreshing liquid inside.
I loved the tropical island life and vowed I would return, which I did 35 years later in 1999 when my son Richard and I visited Vanuatu. During that trip my interest in island life was renewed. On my 3rd return trip to Vanuatu in 2000 I made a decision to help a small local village build and run a "Village Stay" eco tourism venture. Over the next 3 years I spent 3 to 4 months a year living in the village helping with the building. The weather was hot and humid.
Due to my heavy physical workload I was constantly dehydrated. The only liquid that came near to satisfying my thirst was the water from fresh young green coconuts. The village boys would shin up a lofty coconut palm and wrench off a dozen or so coconuts, drop them to the ground, shin back down the palm then as in Fiji lop the top off the green coconuts with their big bush knives. The coconuts were shared amongst the workers. I drank 5 or 6 coconuts a day. I was hooked. I had no idea why young, green coconuts were so refreshing to drink, I just accepted they were.
Over the years I returned regularly to the village. After enduring three hours of heat, bone jarring jolts and lurching as the little rust-bucket of a local bus (mostly held together with fencing wire and the layers of rust between the holes) farted, bounced and banged its way along the dusty potholed road to the village, I had invariably worked up a thirst only slaked by downing the cool sweet liquid of a young green coconut or three on arrival. My first trip out to the village was an adventure. Most trips thereafter an endurance test. In early 2010 I noticed the now familiar white, diamond cut drinking coconuts appearing occasionally on supermarket shelves. I bought and sampled several brands to assess their differences.
Green coconuts have a shelf life from picking to consumption of around 28 days, and then only if kept cold at temperatures between 2 to 4 degrees Celsius. Bottled and canned coconut water began appearing on supermarket shelves and in health food stores. I tasted every brand locally available. Many did not taste like young green coconut water. Some brands were diluted with water and adulterated with sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives or other additives. I began researching young green coconut water. My research revealed the health-promoting properties of fresh young green coconut water, particularly essential electrolyte replacement for athletes or others where physical exertion is involved.
I spent several months importing samples, conducting tastings and surveys before travelling to Thailand to inspect green coconut water canneries and coconut plantations. I sampled water from several different species of young green coconuts, selecting samples to bring back to Australia for further tasting sessions. The cannery I selected to work with has spotless production lines. A very high hygiene standard was observed. I was impressed....as I also was with the plantation, having been a horticulturalist and also involved in manufacturing for over 40 years.
I was as equally impressed by the neat, orderly management of the plantations as I was with the running of the cannery production lines and the quiet efficiency of the staff. Not a weed in sight at the plantations, all hand weeded. No herbicides, no pesticides, no artificial fertilizers, No chemicals of any kind used on the plantations. No sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives no added anything to the pure coconut water during the canning process.
I returned to Australia confident I had found a reliable source of 100% pure,
premium grade fresh, young, green coconut water. I was confident I could
provide Australian consumers with the best quality young green coconut
Enjoy and be well,
Sunshine Coast Queensland