We have a Haitian friend who comes by periodically to check up on the progress around our little farm. We first met him when he answered an ad we had placed in the paper to sell some of the gang of little male goats that had been born earlier in the year. He asked if he could walk around and look at everything. We obliged.
The Haitian gentleman was thrilled to see that we had chickens and immediately asked about eggs, old hens and roosters. He said he missed the flavor found in chickens that were allowed to roam freely. About that time, he turned and saw the moringa trees lining the fence. He ran over to them, shouting and laughing. I didn’t understand a word he was saying and I’m not sure if my sister understood him but he finally slowed down and reverted to speaking English. He was thrilled to see that we had moringa trees. He calls them something else, though, and I still can’t understand him when he talks about it. He asked if he could have some… and we said yes, in spite of the fact that we weren’t sure exactly what or how much he wanted.
He began snapping off the new growth at the tip of each branch,
about 10-12″ of it, stems and all. At this stage, the stems are soft and green. We asked him how he planned to use it. “Cook it, like spinach” was his immediate reply. “Cook it in soup with other vegetables” came next. He took a nice bag full of it and was just as thrilled with the moringa as he was with the goat he had purchased.
Chewan visits us regularly now, always asking about goats and “the trees”.
And so, although we had only seen the medicinal side of moringa ourselves, we learned that in many third world countries, moringa is also a basic vegetable, cooked and eaten as an everyday part of life.