eat. write. smile.

– three things I love to do. Come with!

Wrapping up at Aroa

Time flies when you’re harvesting peas, right?

Darwin and Elisha head to harvest peas.

This maxim- and the classic …when you’re having fun- applies to our most recent and final apprenticeship at Aroa farm. Elisha  and I worked with a great crew of guys who taught us how to harvest efficiently.

Jairo, the father figure on the farm. He bakes cake for the crew to enjoy at coffee break.

I had worked in a garden before, but never a farm with daily orders, large production and real-life economic pressures.

The weekend watering schedule at Aroa. Slim profit margins make tending plants serious business.

Even though I wasn’t working with knives or standing over the stove, my time at Aroa is just as important to my education as a chef. Though not originally planned in the Sammic BasqueStage scholar experience, the Aroa apprenticeship has proved enjoyable and valuable. I was reminded how hard it is to grow quality produce and how slim the profit margins are in farming, important knowledge for every chef.

At the Aroa office on our last day

A huge thank you to Jaime and Rosa, to Cristina and Claudia, and to Jairo, Juan, Maira, Darwin, Alvaro, and Rebeca for hosting us on the farm and for showing us the path our ingredients take from field to kitchen. Eskerrik asko!!

The field crew, from left: Jairo, Juan, Elisha, Rebecca, Darwin and Ruth

The spread at break time: bizcocho, muffins, sugar, coffee and the sharpening stone for our harvesting knives.

Alvaro, who works both in the greens washing room and in the fields.

Perk of the job? Sampling strawberries that have nothing to due with the water-filled golf balls at the grocery store.

Darwin, who sees pea pods with x-ray vision, eats what seems like a half kilo of rice for lunch every day, and takes care of the farm cats.

I take a pause in the greenhouse to say hello to one of the farm cats.

One of the newborn kittens that appeared during our last week on the farm

Elisha and I rest our feet during the afternoon coffee break.

Enjoying a Friday afternoon beverage with Alvaro and Juan

Jaime and the crew sent us home with an incredible spread from the farm: oil-preserved fava beans; guisantes de lagrima – the tiny sweet peas we harvested daily; a bag of gourmet lettuce mix and a pint of strawberries.

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This entry was posted on June 18, 2012 by in BasqueStage, Garden, Travel and tagged , , , , .
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