Shillingford offers free Pomerac
Propagating the idea for an new wine industry
It's as if the Pomerac trees on Fitz Shillingford's farm at Fond Mel are on a mission to overproduce delicious fruits.
"You can see the quantity on one tree," said Shillingford to the Sun's reporter who visited the farm a few weeks ago. "But let me tell you, on one tree you can get six to seven thousands fruits, on one tree, on one tree. They bear twice a year."
Shillingford said the size of the fruits that his plants produce are unbelievably huge, plants that he grew out of a few seeds from a couple fruits a friend gave to him many years ago.
"Anything I eat and it has a seed I put it in the ground," he said.
He now has 13 trees.
Stand under one of these Pomerac trees on Shillingford's farm and gaze skywards; a galaxy of purple fruits smiles down at you from canopies more than sixty feet high. It's an amazing spectacle.
"When they are ripe they are purple and H-U-G-E. You know the North American pear? Same shape and soft and nice like a North American pear," he said.
Shillingford wants to give Dominicans a chance to own one or two of the Pomerac trees like the ones that he owns. His trees produce thousands of seedlings each year from the fruits that fall to the ground and germinate. He destroys the little plants and that hurts his heart.
"I want people to come and get the plants," he said. "It makes a nice juice, it makes a nice wine and it is very good for your kidneys, liver or bladder. It's a beautiful fruit."
Shillingford has tried to get the Ministry of Agriculture to pick up and distribute the fruits to homes of charitable institutions and to uproot the thousands of seedlings and hand them out to farmers around Dominica. So far he has failed.
"I want to give the plants away," he said. "I don't want money for the trees."
Shillingford envisages a commercial Pomerac wine industry, an idea that was planted in his brain when a friend from Philadelphia visited his farm recently.
"He said this is the perfect fruit for making rosé wine. So I said 'we'll order a kit from Canada'. He said 'no, on a commercial basis'," Shillingford said.
"In four years we could have our own wine-making industry here," he added.
Tradewindsfruit.com calls the Pomerac "Mally Apple" or mountain apple. (Syzygium malaccense).
The brief description reads: "A very beautiful fruit, usually deep red in color, pear shaped, with a waxy skin, about the size of an apple. Flesh is crunchy, often juicy, with a mild sweet flavor. Some varieties have white or pink skin".