Oil Palms

Harvested Oil Palm Fruit

Palm oil is often vilified, even if it is the most plentiful of cooking oils. In addition to not being one of the healthiest of oils to consume, growing the trees that produce the oil uses tropical land that could be left as pristine rainforest. Since Costa Rica is still 70% forested, this is not such a big a concern there. On the Pacific side of Costa Rica, we saw acres of palm plantations. They were planted after a tropical storm wiped out banana productions that was there before. United Fruit Company pulled up stakes after that storm, when it decided that it was not as profitable to grow bananas there as it was on the Gulf side of the country. This move devastated the local economies. The introduction of palms was a godsend to the populace that resurrected their economy. Harvesting palm fruit is tough work that involves two-men teams. One man climbs a ladder of some 40′ and cuts loose the palm fruit bunch from the tree, while the other holds the ladder. Care must be taken to avoid the palm’s barbs, because they can cut badly. While hardly being rainforest, the palms provide a canopy that fosters a dense undergrowth that is still habitat for many creatures, some dangerous.

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