Consumers can choose from a variety of Hawaii papayas. Some of the most popular varieties are:
The pear-shaped, high-sugar Kapoho Solo papaya has a greenish-yellow skin that turns yellow as the fruit ripens. The deep yellow flesh has a pleasant, peach-melon taste.*
Grown on the Big Island, Oahu and Kauai, Rainbow is the principal variety grown in and shipped from the islands. This genetically engineered papaya is resistant to the ringspot virus disease. Its greenish-yellow skin turns yellow as the fruit ripens, and consumer testing has confirmed the extreme popularity of this golden yellow flesh variety.
Popularly known by its nickname, "strawberry" papaya, Sunrise (or SunUp) has a freckled greenish-yellow skin that turns yellow as the fruit ripens. Inside, however, its flesh is a juicy, dramatic red-orange color. SunUp is a genetically engineered papaya that is resistant to the ringspot virus disease.
Grown only on the island of Oahu, Kamiya is rounder and larger than the other varieties. It has a thin, greenish-yellow skin with thick orange flesh. Rather than the color of skin, the fruit is ripe when it yields to finger pressure. Laie Gold is a genetically engineered papaya of the Kamiya variety that is resistant to the ringspot virus disease. It is grown for local market only.
* The name "Solo" originated from Puerto Rican laborers at the Hawaii Experiment Station who began calling the papaya "Solo," which means "one" or "alone" in Spanish because it was small enough for one person to eat a whole fruit by him or herself. The name stuck.