Two neighbouring farms sell goat’s cheese, the flat bread molletes, and eggs, and Fernando, who is both generous and full of pity, is at the fence most evenings with a bucket of peppers, tomatoes, and the best onions I have ever tasted, as well as bunches of poleo, the feathery flowered herb used in minty tea.
While the earth is rock hard, things continue to grow. We have had plenty of the weird looking thistly stuff so good in revueltos, apricots, artichokes, and loganberries (all of which were eaten by the aforementioned birds). Now there are dates, pomegranates, prickly pears, black grapes, long tangy grapes, and the wild mass of grapes in the vineyard – so far unidentified, but not, thank god, moscatel. It’s currently fig month: all the fig trees I’ve found so far are producing so much fruit, I can pick several kilos without moving.
I’ve been turning down work so I can eat, I mean cook, figs. I’ve never had any inclination at all to make jam or chutney before, or to cook, actually – it must be the challenge of having to do it outdoors over firewood in ambient temperatures of 40 degrees that makes it interesting. Thankfully the crop and one hopes the compulsive obsession it will be over at the end of the month, and I’ll be able to get back to the nitty gritty of making a living.
Next bounty, as far as I can see, will be oranges and lemons. I removed over 600 snails from one tree alone, not pleasant. I put them in a paint tub, filled it with water, and felt awful. According to Fernando, I should have cooked them. There have been jubilant ‘Hay caracoles‘ signs outside most of the local ventas, and apparently, the bar by the church and plaza in Algodonales does a particularly good snail stew.