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.
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.
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)
Lovely old trees towered above us, soft ferns sprouted between gnarled roots, and colorful birds escorted us deeper into the canopy.
Exotic heliconias greeted us at the entrance to the finca; behind the heliconias were several mature coffee plants, cacao and plantains.
‘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!
Bobby called for Antonio, but a lonely burro replied that no one was home!
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.
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.
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!
Not long after we raided the cacao fruit for it’s unique white pulp, we had the honor of meeting Antonio!
Part two coming soon!