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Tropical botanist kickstarts campaign for book on fruit

From the print edition

Stacey Auch |  Special to The Tico Times

Rolf Blancke wants to tell you all there is to know about tropical fruit. The Puerto Viejo resident has enjoyed a career in tropical botany for the past 20 years, which he now hopes to culminate with a book on fruit, complete with photos, field guides, maps and info on medicinal and nutritional properties.

His plan is to travel throug Asian and Latin America for the research, but he can’t do that without a little help. “We need continued support, especially from residents of Costa Rica, to reach our end goal,” Blancke said. 

Blancke is collaborating with Zona Tropical Publications, which has published 18 books including “The Birds of Costa Rica” and “Tropical Plants of Cost Rica” (both co-published with Cornell University Press) on a 30-day campaign on the crowd-funding website The goal is to raise $7,500 for photography equipment and research in Asia, Latin America and Miami.  

Donors may contribute $5 and up, and in return, receive gifts like fruit post cards, a tropical fruits of the world poster, credit in the book, a copy of the book, trips to Costa Rica and more. If funding goals are met, the book will be released in early 2013.

Already there has been some buzz around the project, and Blancke raised more than a quarter of the total funds needed in the first three days of the campaign. “We’re happy with the results so far,” he said. “So many expats here fall in love with these fruits, and this is their chance to share with friends and family back home.” 

Blancke’s research illustrates the role of fruit in our daily diet, and more importantly, the importance of tropical forest conservation. “With a better knowledge of fruits, we might get more creative in the kitchen, trying new varieties and improving our diets, and having more environmental concern for the tropical forests,” Blancke said.

Blanke’s full project can be viewed at


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