Todays School Trip to a Macadamia Finca
This morning we had lessons as usual with a gorgeous little visitor
At twelve we walked home to mama for a delicious lunch and had time for a few minutes rest before todays school visit to a macadamia finca. Bear looked at his I-Pad and saw that Pete (Troutbridge) was on line. It was smashing to catch up via Skype. Congratulations to him for his will power and stamina to survive a grueling year not only fixing, repairing and painting, but overcoming the constant strain of keeping workmen ‘in line’, to successfully launch Trouters in Fiji. (He is also on this site, see top of page for List All Users, T for Troutbridge). It has not been an easy year and we are delighted his home is once again afloat. Well Done, Pete – Whale Meet Again.
We had a sunny stroll back to school and then on through town to the “Chicken Bus Stop”. Safely aboard we saw we were on an original ‘Blue Bird’ school bus.
Fifteen VERY bumpy minutes later we arrived at Valhalla
We were welcomed by an amusing sign
There were macadamia nuts everywhere, my beautiful assistant – “give us a turn, Anthea” modeled for me as usual
Emily, our guide explained that macadamia nut farming does not exhaust the soil and that the finca is a ‘fair-trade’ farm and the project has planted over 350,000 macadamia trees all over Guatemala, positively influencing the lives of many, their environment and their economy. In 2004 the Valhalla Experimental Station was awarded with the International Human Rights Consortium laureate for their work towards environment.
The nuts are harvested from the ground after they have split out of their outer covering. The trees here are grown without fertiliser or insecticides, completely organically. Macadamia is a genus of nine species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, native to eastern Australia (seven species), New Caledonia (one species M. neurophylla) and Sulawesi in Indonesia (one species, M. hildebrandii).
These evergreen trees range in size from six to thirty plus feet tall. The leaves are arranged in whorls of three to six, lanceolate to obovate or elliptical in shape, with an entire or spiny-serrated margin. The flowers are produced in a long, slender, simple raceme, the individual flowers can be white to pink or purple, with four tepals (just in case you think I have done a typo with the word petal, a tepal is one of the divisions of a flower perianth, especially one that is not clearly differentiated into petals and sepals, as in lilies and tulips.). The fruit is a very hard, woody, globose follicle with a pointed apex, containing one or two seeds.
The genus is named after John Macadam, a colleague of botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, who first described the genus. Common names include macadamia, macadamia nut, Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, queen of nuts and bauple nut; Indigenous Australian names include gyndl, jindilli, and boombera.
Emily introduced us to a simply ingenious ‘bit of kit’, modeled by Claudia (my afternoon teacher). Quite simply a handful of nuts are put on the grill and as they roll, the small ones fall at the beginning and the biggest ones fall at the end as the bars get slightly wider apart, as soon as the sacks below are full they are replaced and Bobs your aunt. Macadamia nuts are sold by size. They can be eaten whole as a snack, chipped into chocolate, cookies, toffee and of course ice-cream. Pressed to produce oil for cooking, face products oil as well as cream (this farm sells to Lancome Paris - Skin Care).
Next was an even more amazing ‘piece of kit’ with its own labels
Simple and ingenious
The rustic workshop
Next, Emily suggested we visit the privy, probably the most photographed in the whole of Guatemala
Next we were invited to a free face and neck massage, Bear and I were more keen to sample the chocolate. The owner popped in to welcome us. He invited us to study any time we wanted anywhere on the property and call it “home”. He did warn us to be careful as he had visited for three days and that was thirty seven years ago.........
As we left
we saw the very trendy café
As we left we saw the very trendy café
ALL IN ALL A NEW ONE ON US