Fruits and Shoots
Image: Garden at Cashew Hill, one of my favorite examples of farm to table living
Farming is a practice as old as yo great, great, great, great grandmother and so on. It's the primary way of having food to eat. It creates sustenance, abundance, and self suffficiency. Of course, the other way we are accoustomed to having food is by shopping in the supermarket. Alternatively, some people used to and still do wildcraft their foods and medicines. Wildcrafting is just what it sounds like, gathering your food from the wild. How sustainable does that sound? If you can't find what you need in the wild, then you're short. It's the same for the supermarkets. We completely depend on others -even other countries!- to provide food for us! It's kind of crazy when you think about it. The only way to guarantee something is done the right way, or that it's even done, is to do it yourself. This is a message that I'm sure we've all heard before. Anyway, my purpose in this blog is not to preach to anyone. It's solely to share the beauty of living on an almost completely self-sufficient farm. We eat fruits and shoots.
My first focus is on Sorrel. It's a Carribean drink that many people in the U.S are familiar with. It's two ingredients are Rosa de Jamaica, and Ginger. Guess what! Today, I picked both! Rose de Jamaica is in the Malvacea, or Mallow family. It's in the same family as Okra, Marshmallow, and other mucilaginous mallows. The defining botanical characteristics that all of the Mallows share is having cup like flowers with a mucilaginous texture. The seeds of the Rosa de Jamaica look similar to the Okra Pods. For Sorrel, we use the ripe red calyx of the Jamaica plant. When boiled, the red lends all of it's color to it's tea. Second, we harvested around 15 kilos of a dwarf variety of ginger. Not that bullshit, chemical ladden, oversized ginger. Haha! This was known as Jamaican Ginger. Same taste, more fiber. A little smaller and a little pinker than the ginger we're sold in supermarkets. After harvesting everything, we made a bright red tea. Intuitively, I feel that Sorrel is good for woman's reprodictive health. It's also good for the stomach, becasuse ginger is a carminative. It's one of those neutralizing drinks. It stimulates you if you need stimulation, or relaxes you if that's what you ask for.
Next, we have a tropical plant that many outside of the tropics are not familiar with. It is known as Katuk. It is a good source of plant protein. This is a great green to grow and consume because it grows in abundance. According to a blog known as Eat the Plants, in their article, Katuk Kontroversy, they state that Katuk is composed of "49% protein, 18% fiber, vitamins A, B & C, potassium 2.77% (more than bananas at 1.48%); calcium 2.77% (dried skim milk is less than half that at 1.3%); phosphorus .61% (dried soybeans are at .55%); magnesium .55%; and even enough iron to mention." A woman who owns an organic store in Puerto Viejo mentioned to me that Katuk stimulates abundant milk production in lactating mothers. Katuk is a delicious pick me up snack, and I find myself gathering leaves to make small salads on the weekend. I love the taste, and I do not need much to fill me up because of the protein content. Where do you get your protein from? (JK)
Next, to add to my salads I really am obsessed with garlic vine. I was not even hip to garlic vine until I came to Finca Inti. It is an intense, abundant vine that has the strong scent and taste of garlic. Que rico! (Spanish for wow that is delicious!) We harvest the young leaves, which Tristian uses in his curries. We also sometimes have the pleasure of using them in pestos, and other sauces.
As for fruit, we have a beautiful, golden fruit that I was not previously aware of. It is called Araca and has my favorite combination of sour and sweet. We have never just straight up eaten the fruit; we always make a juice out of it. We simply blend the fruit with water, and sometimes with cane sugar (although, it is not necessary). The result is a tangy, energizing drink. Because of it's bring yellow complexion, we know that is is high in Vitamin C. According to a study shown in the book, Food Chemistrty, Volume 128 Issue 4, the presence of phenolic compounds makes Araca both antimicrobial and antioxidant.
Last but not least, I wanted to briefly mention other factors and plants that we have on the farm the farm that greatly contribute to it's self sustencance. Root veggies are a staple: Yampie, Yucca, and Taro. They usually only take nine months to a year to mature and even after harvesating, they grow back. They also do not take up a lot of space. Next is banana and plantain. We eat at least 9 bananas a day. 30 collectively. The bunches take nine months to reach maturity and they provide multiple days' breakfast smoothies, midday snacks and after lunch desserts. At the farm, Tristian is gluten free and makes flour out of the plantain fruit, so we have tortillas, pancakes, etc. Lastly, I would say that catching rain water is an important factor as well in creating self sufficiency.
I speak into existence my desire to cultivate an abundance of greenery for the monkeys, for the babies and for the most highs! I am thankful for the bounty that nature provides, which is really evident in Costa Rica and in other tropical parts of the world. I don't plan on this world changing but I just want the world to know how much I appreciate Big Amma Mama for doing her thing.