AK Caribbean Nursery: A gardener’s hobby-turned-business

By Paula Detwiller

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The Delray GreenMarket is a little bit greener this season, thanks to a new vendor selling tropical fruit trees.  Dozens of leafy, waist-high saplings are unloaded from a trailer each Saturday morning and displayed at the booth of Aldyth Konter and her husband Hans.

Aldyth is the “AK” in AK Caribbean Nursery, a family-run business operating out of the Konter’s fruitful backyard in The Acreage.

“I’m from Jamaica,” Aldyth said. “I was just trying to grow a little of my homeland, and it turned into a business.”

Searching for a sapodilla tree? You’ve come to the right place. How about the exotic guanabana from Brazil? AK Caribbean Nursery has that, too. The Konters sell more than 20 different varieties of tropical fruit trees at the GreenMarket, from the more common mango and avocado to the more rare cherry of the Rio Grande and jaboticaba.

The plants range in price from $10 to more than $100, depending on the pot size.

Aldyth is the one with the green thumb; she started gardening at her mother’s knee. Hans, who is originally from Germany, drives the trailer and helps out. The two met when Hans enlisted in the Peace Corps as a young man and the German government assigned him to Jamaica. He has many stories to tell.

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“In Jamaica, I used to make wine out of aloe vera! My biggest customer was the South Korean Embassy. They tried it and loved it. And that was 27 years ago,” Hans said.

Inside the AK Caribbean Nursery booth, Aldyth and

Hans keep a three-ring binder with photos and information about the many species they sell. They are constantly dispensing tips and advice to fruit-tree growers.

“We do more teaching than selling,” Aldyth laughed. “If we were to make money on what we tell people, we would be rich! But they ask a lot of questions and we have a lot of books and knowledge to share.”

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