COCONUT water has been said to have all sorts of healing properties; a revitalising drink; one that has hydrating or ‘cool-down’ properties for the body, and much more. And because of this, the mostly fresh, young and green coconut is cherished not only for its jelly fruit, but more so for the water that runs from it.
Eugene Jones, a 57-year-old, full-time farmer who lives in central Mahaicony, told the Pepperpot Magazine that while he generally loves his profession, he particularly enjoys the occupation of bottling and selling fresh coconut water. He opined that this so-called miracle drink is also gaining popularity in Guyana and his Eugene’s ‘Coconut Water’ is also gaining momentum in terms of popularity and sales.
He stated that having been a farmer for decades, in his bid to diversify a bit he purchased a plot of land some six years ago and on it he planted a number of 18-month-old coconut palms. As a result, he is now harvesting ‘water coconuts’ on a regular basis from which he would extract the water to bottle and sell.
“I started off selling about 25 bottles every week, then moved to 50 bottles and now I easily sell 100 bottles of coconut water every week…I would ride around the village and letting people know by saying, ‘coconut water, coconut water’,” he said, adding that people would come out and purchase.
He admitted that the selling of the bottled coconut water is becoming a big business, but said that he does not have the means to expand rapidly to meet the ever-growing market.
“I would need to purchase more land and plant up if I am to expand and keep up, but this is not possible at this time. I continue to pick what I have, but the coconuts cannot grow back as quick, so this can be a problem,” he stated.
Results of ‘salt’ water
Jones assured the Pepperpot that his coconut water is very sweet and explained that this is a result of the location of his coconut trees. He said that the area where his coconut trees are located is towards the seaside and according to him, the ‘salt’ in the earth and also in the atmosphere has a lot to do with the content of the coconut.
In fact, he went on to tell the Pepperpot Magazine that he had found out over the many years that he has been farming that all the fruits, vegetables and other products that grow near the seashore end up sweeter and better tasting. He added too that other farmers can attest to this.
Research has shown that the flavour of coconut water is an unusual mix of saltiness and sweet; that the typical coconut water has 30 to 70 milligrams of sodium and 9 to 12 grams of sugar per 11.2-ounce container — saltier, but much less sweet than most fruit juices. The same amount of apple juice has 10 milligrams of sodium and three times as much sugar: 33 grams.
Nonetheless, Jones has stated that from the time his coconut water hit the market it has been well received, but did not make much comment on the ‘miracle’ aspect of the drink.
Demand outweighs supply
Despite the obvious demand for coconut water, studies are showing that this product is not as easily sourced, nor is it as cheap as many other juices, teas and other beverages. Studies have shown that it is a more expensive drink and that part of the reason may be because of the time it takes to be ready for harvesting, and also the amount that can be ‘ripe’ and ready at one time from any one tree.