Today we had the task of clearing all the figs tree’s but before that we needed to conduct a quick veg harvest to supply the kitchen with goods for the day which resulted in me finding the biggest cucumber I have ever seen, apparently not big enough for the Guinness book of records, a Neal from Wales currently holds this title for his 42.1 inch long Cucumber!! The morning was already very hot and before heading into the orchard I opted to cool my feet by partaking in a Thai fish pedicure in the outside pond and no sooner had I started to get used to the little fish pecking away at my toes, the pleasurable session came to an abrupt end when I saw a snake approaching my big toe.
Goncalo rounded up his 5 volunteers and took us over to the Fig orchard, each with a bucket in hand, he explained how to know when a fig is ready for the picking. The first tell tale sign is if the eye at the bottom of the fig is open, the second if the skin of the fig has stretch marks. We lined the bottom of our buckets with leaves to protect the fragile figs and set off with our harvest, the smell in the air was delicious, very sweet, and the wasps seemed to love the smell too. Harvesting the figs was actually quiet up lifting, especially when you could reward yourself every now and again with a sweet, juicy, delicious treat and I took extra delight from removing the figs from the buckets and delicately placing them in boxes, carefully placing each fig in a leaf lined layer like they were expensive hand made chocolates. I’m not 100% sure what the destiny of the figs will be, we assumed Jams and dried figs. I left the orchard content and with extremely sticky fingers.
After lunch we headed over to the sweet spot cafe at the resort to relax in more comfortable surroundings, apart from the staff and their children the resort was empty and a 4pm the resort staff and the Lama Village volunteers all joined on the terrace to start the opening of the Pomegranates. Sitting on reconditioned palettes and grain bags we started the lengthy task of opening the Pomegranates we had harvested yesterday, with a work force of ten we sat for three hours in the shade, removing all the tiny juicy sarcotesta (and consuming the odd few). But with ten strong we didn’t manage to get through our entire harvest. The resort would use the Pomegranates to make juice and for the first time I can now appreciate why Pomegranate juice is expensive compared to other fruit juices.
The nice afternoon was not however followed by a nice dinner, I’m not actually sure what we ate, if it was a soup gone wrong or a potato starch with water mix and for the first time in my life I was grateful to eat plain, overly boiled rice. Today I really wanted to spend some time researching and planning our final week in Portugal, after Vale Da Lama we had no plans, Olof’s Portugal planning hadn’t got past week two and whilst he started to mumble about a mild tooth ache I spent the evening and going into the early hours of the morning taking Mirka through Vale Da Lama’s websites explaining the improvements and strategies that could be implemented to improve their business, it was still peak season at the resort but this wasn’t really reflected in the room bookings.