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Garden of Steve Boboricken, Los Altos Hills, CA

June 12, 2010

On June 12th, the hottest day of the year after the coldest spring in decades, I set off early with a jug of ice tea and a basket full of fruits for Steve Boboricken’s garden in Los Altos Hills, the site of our annual potluck picnic. Steve, a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers, has carved out of the steep terrain a fruit lover’s paradise. Dotting the hillside are White sapotes (Casimiroa edulis), a macadamia and various types of bananas along with the more traditional fruits such as peaches, pears and plums.

The small greenhouse is packed with an astonishing array of exotics such as snake fruit (salacca edulis), dragon fruit (hylocereus undatus) and passion fruit (passiflora edulis). Outside, we passed a bubbling vat of compost tea and two tubs of lotuses as we made our way to the shade house where pots of fig, pomegranate, mulberry and various other subtropicals compete for space.

The flatter areas around the driveway are devoted to Steve’s pride and joy – his pawpaw patches. This is where we gathered for our picnic. Steve spread the leaves of his favorite pawpaw to show us some of the developing fruits, all the time lamenting that few people know about this fruit. “More people should be growing the pawpaw. It’s the largest native fruit (some weighing over a pound) and tastes deliciously like custard.” He added that although native to the Midwest, the tree has proven very productive in the Santa Clara Valley and that it makes an attractive specimen tree with its tropical look and golden fall color.

As the heat of the day became more intense, all of us managed to squeeze under the shade of a giant avocado tree. Touring, tasting and socializing, a good time was had by all who attended. Thanks to Steve for his hospitality and showing us the possibilities for our own paradise.

- Contributed by Katie Wong

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