A man in Pearl City is earning quite the reputation for his green thumb.
Takumi Tashima says he has certainly discovered a gift. According to the 83-year-old retiree, that gift is cultivating fruit trees.
He's especially proud of his apple crop this season.
"The only problem with these apples, birds just love 'em," Tashima said. "It's not a normal thing in Hawaii, especially on Oahu."
Tashima says he's been growing all kinds of fruit trees for the better part of the last 50 years. How he selects them is actually pretty simple.
"I go to the store, and I see a plant I like... I pick it up and walk around the yard and see where it would be best," he says.
The retired University of Hawaii photo lab technician says he now has papaya, avocado, citrus and pineapple plants, but his current fascination is his tangelo tree.
"Right now, this is one of my favs, it's been giving so many," he says. "I get hundreds of them. The avocado last year, I had over 300."
Tashima says his love of gardening first started in grade school, after one of his teachers picked him and another student to work in the school's garden. And like his crops, his affinity for fruit continued to grow as he grew up in an area near the former Aiea Sugar Mill.
"When I used to walk around my neighborhood, I always used to admire the citrus, the tangerine, the oranges, because we didn't have any," Tashima said. "So I told myself, when I get my place, those are the things I'm gonna get."
Sure, he admits his yard isn't green grass and manicured hedges, like some of his neighbors.
"To me, it's not beautiful, its a mess, you know, but I wait for the fruits," he says, noting that he shares them with family, neighbors, and friends.
And as for the secret to his bumper crops?
"Patience," he says with a chuckle. "Don't give up... You might not succeed first time, second time, third time. Keep doing it. Eventually you might find the secret, or the secret will find you and everything will shoot up."