Dimitra Pastras had a giant problem on her hands: she had too many avocados.
“Last year this one tree produced 300 pounds of avocados,” the Gulfport woman said while standing under a giant tree in her front yard. “It’s a pretty cool tree.”
Pastras’ dad, Harry, passed away from lung cancer in 2009 two days after her birthday. His home became her inherited responsibility.
“It makes me feel close to him,” she said. “If I can give back to him than I do.”
With the home came two enormous avocado trees. Both trees, one in the front yard and the other in the back, were planted by Harry. Now, each plant yields hundreds of fruit each season.
So, what do you do with a few extra hundred avocados?
Of course, she cut them up.
“The jewelry is actually carved and the earrings are carved from the same seed,” she said while showing off a necklace she made from the pit of an avocado. “This is actually one of my very, very favorite pieces.”
Hundreds of avocado products sat on her kitchen table, everything from bracelets, necklaces and charm pendants carved from avocado pits to lotions, creams, and butters made from the fruit’s flesh.
It was the perfect way to both remember her father and honor him with his favorite fruit.
“His fruit. His trees,” she said with a smile. “We give back.”
Dimitra sells her avocado jewelry at the Gulfport Farmer’s Market on Tuesday mornings during the fall season. The fruit from her dad’s trees will be ready to harvest in a few weeks. Then she’ll start crafting more jewelry to sell.
She donates $1 from the sale of each piece of jewelry to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to help fund cancer research. It’s a disease that claimed her father’s life and one she beat. Dimitra overcame thyroid cancer.
Last year, she donated a little over $300 to cancer research and hopes to eclipse that amount in 2017.