Submitted By bawiltshire
Phase 2 – Discussion Board
Professor: Nicholas Kusina
May 27, 2015 For this assignment I chose Coconuts as my food. Coconuts are fruits, they are large round with a hard husk shell, medium brown in color, has a rough hairy surface (Purdue University, 2014). They are called “Drupes” by Botanists; a drupe is a fruit with a hard stony covering that enclosed the seed (Everyday Mysteries). The coconut is part of the Arecaceae or palm family is a large, distinct family of monocotyledonous plants, containing up to 4000 species distributed among 200+ genera. The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera L., is undoubtedly the most economically important plant in the family, as it is used as both an ornamental and a food crop (Mark’s Fruit-Crops.com website). The coconut originated between the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the 15th century by Portugese explorers, when they found the fruit they described the shell as a coco, or “grinning monkey” because of the 3 dark spots at its base which looks like a merry face. From then it was referred to as the “coconut”. The nut can float long distances on ocean currents for months and will still germinate when it makes it to the beach. The coconut did not become known to the Western World until the 15th century. In the middle ages the fruit was very rare and cherished, that the shells were polished and mounted in gold (Coconut Republic). Coconuts are used in many different products. The white flesh inside of a mature coconut is called “Copra”, it is dried, shredded and used in cakes, candies and many other sweet treats; coconut oil is also expressed from the copra and is used in cooked foods, hair products and margarine. The raw copra is also used to make coconut “milk”, where is grated and a little water is added and the milk is then expressed, it is used in many dishes all around the world. The coconut water from the young or immature coconuts makes for a cool refreshing drink on a hot day in the tropics (Mark’s Fruit-Crops Website). The top 5 countries that produce the highest percentage of coconuts, according to Fruit Crops website are as follows: 1. Philippines – 30% 2. Indonesia – 26% 3. India – 18% 4. Brazil – 5% 5. Sri Lanka – 3% Since I did not have a coconut available at home at the time of this assignment, I decided to use the Philippines as the distance traveled. From Manila, Philippines to Washington, DC the miles are 8,562. The longest distance I got was from Jakarta, Indonesia to Washington, DC was 10, 162 miles (Food Miles Calculator). According to the FAOSTAT website there is No Production Data for the United States. Coconuts are not grown locally. In the United States coconut palms are grown in Hawaii and Florida and are mostly for ornamentals purposes (Mark’s Fruits-Crops Website).
Can you live without the food item you chose? Is there a local substitute available? Yes, I can live without the food I chose. I can buy coconuts at the local farmer’s market and some of the local grocery stores here in Atlanta, Georgia. Coconut milk and shredded coconut are also readily available in grocery stores all over the United States. There are no local substitutes for coconut milk, almond milk comes close but the textures and tastes are a bit different.
Retrieved from: Coconut Republic http://www.coconutrepublic.org/coconut_story.php
Retrieved from: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Statistic Division http://faostat3.fao.org/search/Coconuts/E
Retrieved from: Food Miles Calculator http://www.foodmiles.com/results.cfm
Retrieved from: Everyday Mysteries http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/coconut.html
Retrieved from: Mark’s Fruit Crops http://www.fruit-crops.com/coconut-cocos-nucifera/