I don’t remember the first lychee I ever ate. I believe I was much too young, but as far back as I do remember my mom and I were drying and sprouting the pits, trying to grow a lychee tree. They’re not so easy to grow, we learned, so while I’m screaming ‘Thank God it’s lychee season’ from the rooftops, I’m also thanking Genuineland’s lucky stars for one Roland Samimy who keeps us well stocked, and well informed as to how we can expect this lychee season to go. His report went just like this:
Compared to last year (which was an absolute disaster) this year is much better. There will certainly be more than enough to meet your needs, however, it is still a less than average crop. If you recall, we have two varieties (Mauritius and Brewster). Mauritius fruited, Brewster’s, nada! So right off the bat it is half a crop. Same goes for the rest of the growers. Got to love mother nature. It is a weather thing. My best hypothesis is that since the Brewsters lag behind the Mauritius by a few weeks, the Mauritius flowered and got pollinated before getting hit by a cold snap or wind or a combination of both that likley hit the grove when the Brewster flowers were at their most vulnerable. As such, poof, no Brewster crop. Plus there is the issue of the bees. Bee populations are way down. That is a problem for all agriculture in general not just lychees. The bummer is that lychees are hard enough to grow as it is without these issues. So here we are. Waiting for things to ripen up !!
And ripen, they have! Just two days ago I laid my eyes on the first lychees of the season fresh from the Redlands in the MGFD walk-in, and I swear I squealed like a little girl. I can’t help it. I see a lychee and get that same feeling I did as a kid at Publix with my mom when we first saw lychees on the shelf: 1) That it’s summertime and school’s almost out! And 2) it’s almost my birthday! Then, there’s that juicy pop of breaking the skin and the cool crunch of the milky white fruit, so sweet and fresh, as sweet as the sight of them is to me, I love them that much. And I’m not the only one.
I grapped a couple and shoved them in my pocket for my mom, who I was going to see that evening - a little thank you for the lifelong lychee love. Those lychees in my pocket brought up all sorts of similar fondness from everyone I passed (who couldn’t help but tell me I had lychees in my pocket). From the bar to the kitchen to the managers upstairs it seems whether you’re a Miami native or a recent transplant, everyone is screaming TGILS!!!! So, here are a few ways these summer treats are popping up on our various menus. Come in and get ‘em while we got ‘em!
On the menu: wreck fish ceviche with avocado, citrus, papaya AND lychee and cilantro
From the pastry station: Coconut lychee sorbet
From the bar: Lychee Market Special – Lychee puree, muddled mint, simple syrup, double cross AND a lychee martini
Harry’s Pizzeria is implementing a Lychee Farmer Fizz today to run through the weekend!
And last but not least, Roel has yet to reveal how, but lychees will be finding their way on to the Tasting Menu tonight at The Cypress Room.
None of this is to be missed. TGIF! And TGILS!