You only have to drive through Waimanalo once to know that it's filled with plant nurseries. With nearly every telephone pole stapled with homemade plant sale flyers and arrows pointing you in all directions, we plant lovers have a hard time resisting this treasure box of green goodies.
Deep in Waimanalo, at the base of the Koolau mountains, you'll find one of our favorite nurseries: Frankie's. The long driveway lined with a mixed bag of fruit trees is an appropriate introduction to what you can expect at this one-of-a-kind local gem. Specializing in tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees, the owners travel bi-annually to various countries seeking new species of fruit that will successfully grow in Hawai'i.
After 30+ years of business, it's no surprise that Frankie and his family have developed an affinity for the most unique, rare fruits available. And as humble as they seem, the people of Frankie's Nursery are more than ready for you to rack their brains and answer any questions you might have about every fruit from Wax Jambu to Rambutan.
That being said, what we're really hear to tell you about has nothing to do with buying fruit trees. Although walking the grounds is an absolute must, our favorite part of Frankie's can be found right at the main house, where you're taken to at check out.
In a small patio area lined with metal tables and bins, you'll be surrounded by fruits harvested from the nursery. Unlike your typical fruit stand selling coconuts and pineapples, Frankie's prides themselves in selling every fruit you've never heard of.
Even the fruit that appears to be more common, like mango, are probably a rare variety that you never knew existed. Of course they are, it's Frankie's!
By Kenna Reed
Photos by Kenna Reed shot on a Contax T3