Cranberry surprise in Mandaue
Fifteen trees with red and purple cranberries grow behind the gate of Maria Magdalena Lim’s two-story home in barangay Casuntingan, Mandaue City.
Passersby wonder about the strange fruit, which is grown in cooler weather of north America and Europe.
“Nothing is impossible. It depends on the people having good hands,” she said.
With Lim’s green thumb, the trees are thriving like the orchids, two small apple trees and assorted plants in her garden at home, near the dry market in Casuntingan.
Lim, 66, said it wasn’t difficult to plant and care for the trees, whose fruit is used for juice, desert toppings, raisins and sauce in turkeys for traditional Thanksgiving meals in the United States.
Lim recounted that she was vacationing with friends in the US eight years ago when she ate some cranberries and wondered whether she could plant some in Cebu. She placed the seeds in tissue paper to take home.
Upon returning to Mandaue City in 2006, she planted the seeds at the back of the gate. She was surprised to see them grow into trees.
“I didn’t think they would grow, but I still planted them hoping that they would bear fruit,” she said.
She said she didn’t have to add fertilizer or do anything special.
“I just water it once a day with my other plants,” Lim said.
If it rains, she doesn’t bother watering it again.
As an only child of farmers, Lim said she was inspired by her parents’ passion for planting.
“I experiment, especially with plants because that’s my first love. You get to witness the beauty of nature and experience contentment seeing the fruits of your labor,” Lim said.
Cranberries are praised by health advocates as a good source of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
The juice is commonly prescribed as a treatment for urinary tract infection (UTI).
When the cranberries ripen by October, Lim said she stocks them in the refrigerator. She makes cranberry juice or dries the fruit to make raisins.
Last year she started selling some plants and fruit to friends and neighbors. Some friends later phone in orders or visit her garden.
Visitors drop by her house to buy cranberries for P300 per kilo or the plants for P1,000 each.
She said her young apple trees are expected to bloom in two to three years.
“After eating green apples I bought from the supermarket, I just thought that the seeds would grow here just like the cranberries,” she said.
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