Herbert Ford, 559-592-0980, 559-732-0313.
PRODUCTS FROM PITCAIRN
ANGWIN (Napa County) Calif., August 5, 1999—Don’t be surprised to see “Pitcairn Island” as the point of origin on the next jar of honey or package of dried fruit you pick up at your supermarket.
The Pitcairn Islands Study Center on the campus of Pacific Union College here reports that the tiny South Pacific island is going into the food export business in a big way.
The 50 or so residents of Pitcairn, most of them direct descendants of “Mutiny on the Bounty” sailors, are beginning to export honey, dried bananas, mango and pineapple, and are gearing up to add jams, dried fish and coffee, says Herbert Ford, director of the Study Center which is in frequent contact with the remote, South Pacific island.
Most of the Pitcairners are direct descendants of sailors on H.M.S. Bounty who mutinied against their captain, William Bligh, in 1789. The so-called “Bounty Saga” has been the subject of several major Hollywood movies.
Pitcairn’s food exporting business is expected to add substantially to the island’s economy. Until now, income has been largely restricted to the sale of curios, fruits, vegetables and stamps to passing ships.
One mile wide by two miles long, Pitcairn is located in the far reaches of the South Pacific Ocean, about mid-way between Panama and New Zealand.
Ford said Pitcairn products have already been successfully sold in New Zealand and the United States. A Pitcairn Island Producers Coopereative has been formed to handle marketing. All products must travel by ship to the marketplace since Pitcairn has no air service.
The island’s rich-flavored honey has been found by New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to be an exceptionally pure product. It is seen as a boon to that country since the purity of some New Zealand honey has recently been called into question.
Isolated as it is by hundreds of miles of open ocean from its closest inhabited neighbor island, Pitcairn is remarkably fertile. All who live on the island must grow most of the food they eat. Fish is the main source of protein in the Pitcairners’ diet.
So lush is growth of some fruits on Pitcairn that they spoil before they can be eaten by the small population. With the introduction of dehydrators, the islanders have found that they can dehydrate and ship many kilos of high-quality banana, mango, pineapple and other fruits abroad.