Last year they made the switch from wholesale to retail. A late growing season put their crop in direct competition with Mexican and Chinese fruit causing the wholesale lychee price to hit rock bottom.
Rose and U (pronounced 'oo') Khin have owned Kenari Groves since 1997. Mr. Khin tells me many people get confused by his name and call him Ken. But his Burmese name is U Khin, which literally translates to Uncle Khin.
Driving in a golf cart, a short while later, through the back grove with Rose, she points to a large tree covered in bright red Brewster lychees and says, "The bumpy skin shows it is not ready."
She goes on to tell me about ripeness. Sometimes the skins are green from lack of exposure to the sun but this does not mean they are not ready. It all depends on how they feel. Stepping from the gulf-cart, she walks up to a bunch of fresh fruit hanging low on a Mauritius lychee tree and pulls one off. Handing it to me she says, "It is ready when it feels like a balloon filled with water."
I roll the fruit around in my hand and it feels exactly like that. I bite into its red, slightly brittle skin, squirting sweet sticky juice into my mouth. I peel off the remaining skin using both my teeth and my fingers. There is nothing like fresh lychee.
"We are in this business and we want people to try the best," Rose says snipping a bunch of fresh lychees and putting them in the front of our golf cart.
We ride back to the main house via mango trees that line the perimeter of the 20-acre grove. "They are green right now and won't be ready for another few weeks," she tells me.
Back at the house I take a seat next to U Khin and he tells me about Brewster lychees."They have deceptively bright red skin but they are not ready. It will be about the 15th or 16th of July when they are ready."
The Khins are getting selling help from Darrin Swank of Swank Specialty Produce, a hydroponic farm in the Loxahatchee area. Swank includes lychees in orders to his chef clients around south Florida.
Before I leave, I buy 10 lbs of Mauritius lychees at $3 a pound. I'll have to return next month to try the Brewsters.
Kenari Groves will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until they run out of fruit. They only take cash.
Their address is listed as being on "D" Road but the entrance to the grove is located at 14404 Trip Raod, Loxahatchee, FL 33470
You can call 561-313-7202 for more details or directions.
You can also see info on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KenariGroves