Monday, May 30, 2011

Is all PAPAYA orlah?

All commercially grown Papaya are from trees that are less than 36 months (3 years), therefore they would be Orlah. Vadai-Orlah is ossur even out of eretz yisroel.
There are many or rather mojority of the poiskim say the brucha on papaya is not "ha'eitz" but a Ho'adamah. Orlah is only by a Ha'eitz.
Yes papaya can be planted through out the year. However they do not germinate well outdoors when day temperatures are below 72 degrees Fahrenheit and night temperatures dip below 69 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact. when planning to plant a winter month crop, it is best to germinate seed before the end of September and transplant seedlings into bigger pots to continue their "controlled growth" until setting them out in the field. They will u catch" when transplanted in cooler winter months once they have "tapped" into the pre plant fertilizers for their vegetative stage.

From a commercial standpoint any number of scenarios result in different outcomes. Papaya plantations on the Big Island of Hawaii, that are planted in a'a lava fields with no irrigation in an area with 180 inches of annual rainfall and excellent drainage are normally harvested for a period of twenty four to twenty eight months. This is after the normal eight months of vegetative growth from seed germination until the first harvest. The Big Island plantations cultivated under such management yield an average of only 30,000 pounds per acre in the first year of production and that is usually obtained in two major flushes that follow the natural rain cycles by six months. The second production cycle Year yields an average of 15,000 pounds per acre under these non irrigated natural conditions. These are the statistics gathered by the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture working with the USDA Marketing Branch.

On Molokai, Oahu and Kauai, where drip irrigation is utilized and the papaya are grown on highly weathered volcanic soils the commercial production cycle averages 18 months from the time of first harvest for a total growth cycle of 28 to 29 months a crop. The production averages 70,000 pounds per acre during this period under reasonable management. Under optimum management yields of 100,000 pounds per acre are not uncommon and this normally occurs in the first 14 months from the first harvest that occurs in the tenth to eleventh month after planting. In such cases where the yields are optimized the total crop cycle is condensed to optimize field useage to 22 to 24 months total time from planting to crop completion.

Trees do continue to grow and produce fruit beyond the 22 months, but harvesting fruits once the trees are over 18 feet tall, and maintaining quality control become difficult, without equipment developed specifically with the intent to extend yields and increase harvesting efficiency under such conditions.

Aloha, Ken Martin

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