Coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut vinegar – we are coo coo for coconuts. It seems like every time I come back to the US there is another coconut fad that has hit the shelves. It always makes me chuckle to myself when I see the beautifully branded coconut water products on the shelves and I think of all of the women in Vietnam, India, and Sri Lanka selling coconuts on the side of the road. The kind where someone chops it open right there in front of you and sticks a straw in it – talk about farm to table…that’s the real thing.
Coconut is not just used for food; it actually may be the most versatile item in the world. They can be used for starting fires, making ropes & baskets, furniture making, drums, brooms, toothbrush – and how can we forget the infamous coconut bra and Monty Python coconut horse trotting sound! And when I walked into the Hoolehua post office in Molokai, I found yet another use for coconuts that I never could have imagined – as a postcard.
Post-a-Nut – the Ultimate Custom Postcard
I met Gary Lam in the Hoolehua Post Office in Molokai as he was weighing a colorful coconut with a hula girl drawn on it. He told me that this was his favorite part of his job, getting the coconuts ready for mailing. He didn’t just weight them, but he put the finishing touches on them, the stamps. As I looked at the coconut stamps closely I saw stamps I had never seen before. “I save back colorful or unique stamps to use on the coconuts,” he said as he smiled “then I try to arrange different stamps on each coconut so that there is a variety.”
This is Gary’s chance to be creative in his postal job; he was quite the artist! I marveled at the stamp collage he created seeing Love stamps, butterflies, humming birds, tigers, and aloha stamps.
Here’s how it works:
• Choose a coconut from a bin on the floor. The coconut is free, but of course the cost to mail it is dependent on the weight.
• Shake the coconut to see if there is liquid inside. The ones with liquid are edible, however they are heavier and cost more money.
• Use the pile of pens on the counter to decorate your coconut however you want and write a message to the receiver. You can also take your coconut to town to Kalele bookstore and owner Terri will paint a scene on it. She can customize your postcard however you want!
• Make sure you leave room to write the mailing address and return address on the coconut!
• You’ve now got the best custom postcards ever ready to mail. Just give it to Gary…he takes care of rest!
The average cost to mail a coconut postcard in the US is $11 to $16. You can also mail to foreign countries (those are Gary’s favorite) once you fill out a customs form. While we were there Gary was getting one ready to go to Kathmandu.
Each year about 3,000 coconut custom postcards get mailed from the Hoolehua Post Office on the little island of Molokai. And can you imagine the surprise when one shows up in your mailbox or at your door? Or in the Kathmandu post office? This puts other postcards to shame. Why mail a piece of paper when you can mail a Post-a-nut?
Would you like to receive a Post-a-Nut in the mail?
Disclosure: My trip to Molokai was hosted by the Molokai Visitor Bureau, however all opinions here are my own.