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Want to go with us and pick coffee cherries?

Want to go with us and pick coffee cherries?

Jama Ecuador (Manabi Province) often projects a mellow feeling of yesteryear, and I am pleased to present another post about nostalgia in honor of the Weekly Photo Challenge on WordPress.

Jody, Bobby and I dined with Cynthia this past week!

Jody, Bobby and I dined with Cynthia this past week!

My friend Cynthia invited mutual friends Bobby and Jody for dinner last week.  (Thanks again, Cynthia! The wahoo was wonderful, as was that decadent cup of coffee with a dollop of ice cream!)   Bobby mentioned that he had an abundance of ripening coffee on a finca near Jama, and Cynthia and I quickly volunteered to help!

(Miguel Rendon of ESCoffee and I are reworking the itinerary for a new coffee tour, so I looked forward to playing the role of tourist on a trek to a coffee farm!)  This past Sunday we met at Restaurant Exclusivo near the center of town and traveled fifteen or twenty minutes east by mototaxi.

Goodbye to civilization!

Goodbye to civilization!

We stepped out of the mototaxi, and Bobby led us “arriba” – up an almost-dry stream.   Just a few yards off the gravel road, we left the modern world behind and stepped back in time.

Please push the ‘start’ button to enhance your reading pleasure!  (Music by Frizz Guitar:  Mississippi Slow Blues)

P1780458 CYNTHIA BOBBY WALKING OUT

Lovely old trees towered above us,  soft ferns sprouted between gnarled roots, and colorful birds escorted us deeper into the canopy.

Bobby spotted the red-breasted trogon high in the canopy!

Bobby spotted the red-breasted trogon high in the canopy!

That's one very big tree!

That’s one very big tree!

Exotic heliconias greeted us at the entrance to the finca; behind the heliconias were several mature coffee plants, cacao and plantains.

P1780191 heliconia

‘Round the bend stood a lone wooden house on stilts. Cacao seeds sunned on a tarp; a friendly cat greeted us, as did the dogs. The door to the house was closed, but the upstairs windows were open.   My creative mind quickly imagined a Goldilocks experience!

P1780193 cacao y plantains

P1780197 anybody home

P1780196 official greeter

Bobby called for Antonio, but a lonely burro replied that no one was home!

P1780212 long ears burro

After inspecting various species of plants and fruit, we walked to the coffee section and started picking!  (But wait!  I’ve never picked coffee cherries before!)   Bobby gave us a quick lesson: only the ripest cherries should be picked.

P1780256 COFFEE CHERRIES

We spread out and went straight to our tasks!   Cherry by cherry, we quickly weaned into a relaxed zen sort of rhythm.  Every so often a heavily-loaded plant rewarded us with an easy bounty of red fruits, while other plants offered green fruits for the future.

P1780250 COFFEE CHERRIES GREEN

Picking only the ripest cherries takes time! We agreed that the price of coffee is quite cheap compared to the time-consuming job of picking the ripe fruits!

P1780311 COFFEE CHERRIES

How many of these are ready to harvest? For first-time pickers, it’s often hard to know what to pick and what to leave.

P1780323 CACAO

Cacao, from flower to maturity, is the source of chocolate!

P1780328 MACHETE y cacao

Cacao is also the source of a delightful and delicate fruit.

P1780330 cacao HANDS

Care to try some? The white coating that covers each seed has a unique and delicate flavor. A bit like lemon and grapes and kiwi fruit rolled into one subtle flavor!

Not long after we raided the cacao fruit for it’s unique white pulp, we had the honor of meeting Antonio!

P1780346 ANTONIO

Noting changes in the gate and finding a bag at his house, Arturo knew that intruders were on the property!  How surprised he was to find Bobby and two new friends!

P1780358 Bobby y Antonio

Returning to the house!

P1780371 antonio y arasal

We were introduced to a new fruit, the Arazal.

There are surely more ripe fruit here somewhere!

There are surely more ripe fruit here somewhere!

P1780374 ANTONIO

P1780369 ANTONIO

P1780347 ANTONIO

P1780388 bobby antonio

P1780392 antonio

Antonio proudly shares details about the house.

P1780215 tobacco

Flowering tobacco!

P1780411 hibiscus cynthia y bobby

Time to go home!

P1780415 cynthia hat cafe cacao

But wait! Cynthia found a jackpot of more coffee cherries!

P1780445 CYNTHIA BOBBY OLD TREES SUNLIGHT

The Zeebra kept lagging behind!

P1780450 CYNTHIA BOBBY OLD TREES

Without the distance and the human figure to show scale, it would be hard to capture the true size of the trees.

P1780434 CYNTHIA BOBBY OLD TREE

And to think that that tree has grown forEVER, and few people have stopped to marvel!

Like posing at the toenail of a giant dinosaur, Lisa y Cynthia admire the surroundings.   Photo  Bobby!

Like posing at the toenail of a giant dinosaur, Lisa y Cynthia admire the surroundings. – Photo by Bobby!

Back on the gravel road, we left the solitude and nostalgic feelings of yesteryear behind.  But wait… Maybe not!
P1780471 funny dump truck

Part two coming soon!

Z

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