I found my Holy Grail. The rare and elusive Mangosteen tree. And like the original Holy Grail, it is destined to bring me heartache, disappointment and cost alot of money in my quest to obtain and keep it. *sigh* Why do I do this to myself? Obsession, that’s why.
For those of you who are not familiar with Mangosteen, it is a native of Asia. The fruit is round, smaller than a baseball but bigger than a golf ball. It has a brown outer skin that is peeled away to reveal a snow white center that is sectioned like an orange. Its taste is a creamy rasberryish-strawberryish-peachy heavenly delight. It is call the Queen of Fruit for a very good reason. I would venture to say the taste is better than good sex (but just below great sex).
I first tasted the ambrosia called mangosteen in Thailand about 7 years ago. I was in love from the first moment the white flesh touched my lips. But mangosteen is a fickle fruit and I had my heart crushed when I returned to the US only to find out that fresh mangosteen is simply not available here.
The mangosteen fruit doesn’t ship well and even if it did, it cannot be imported because foreign grown fruit can endanger US food crops. To top it off, mangosteen fields in Hawaii, California and Florida have just not developed as well as hoped so it is not even like I could sacrifice my kid’s college education to have one of the fresh fruit shipped from within the US. I have tried the canned version but the difference in taste is like that between a store bought and homegrown tomato.
I made it my personal mission to buy a tree. For 7 long years I have scoured the internet looking for someone who sells and ships them. Did I mention that the seedlings do not ship well, either? So far I had only found a place in Hawaii but it would cost me $120 for the seedling. I wasn’t that desperate.. yet. The link is in my Favorites list for when I finally did go right over the edge.
I also had a standing email alert at eBay for the word “mangosteen”. Because eventually everything is for sale on eBay, if you are patient enough. Three days ago, I got The Email and I placed my bid and waited anxiously for the end of the auction. I nearly cried when the auction ended and I had won.
This is what obsession does to a person. This is why they have support groups for people like me. Because I don’t think we are quite right in the head.
Professional growers can’t grow these trees in climates similar to their native homeland and I, a mere hobbyist, spends $40 to have a seedling shipped to me. I think I have about a 1 in 100 chance of actually getting this little baby to survive.
Still, I am delighted. My very own mangosteen tree. Let’s say I beat the odds. Let’s say it grows to make fruit. It could happen… of course it takes them 12 years to bear fruit and I may have grandchildren before I have mangosteen fruit, but it could happen.