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Update from the Farm July-August 2017

Hey, folks! When I was a kid, Rainy Season was the most awaiting time of the year. I lived in a small village in the Northeast of Thailand where the lands are considered arid and infertile so when it rained, it’s the best feeling in the world. The earth would be chilly and fresh, and there would be water everywhere, filling the rice fields, making the puddles and even running on the muddy roads. It wasn’t a mess at all but a sign of life and hope. Things grew like crazy, especially bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Our farms would be filled with water where we could swim, and catch fish, crabs and snails. I remembered finding giant earth worms all over the paths, and at night we usually had a few fireflies visited.

My mom and my sister will be staying with us for six months because Sadik has been traveling, and we have been thinking about opening a small café here in Pune. To be honest, this idea has been come and gone many times before, so I don’t really know what we’re going to decide in the end.

So anyway, before my mom left Thailand, she took some pictures around the land for you guys.

Rainy Season came late to our farm this year, and by the beginning of July, the last of our mangoes started to fall from the trees. When it poured at night, we made sure to go check on the ground in the morning. Usually, the ones that had been fallen are always a little bruised so we can’t sell them. However, they’re surely sweet and so we ate them and made fruit leather out of the fallen fruits.

Raw mangoes were my main summer snacks when I was a kid. When the children weren’t at school, they did nothing else but ate and played, you see. So, we walked to the garden and plucked the fresh raw mangoes from the trees, and we made Spicy Mango Salad or just had the sour mango slices with the spicy sauce made with chili flakes, sugar, shrimp paste and Pla Ra juice.

So when the mangoes were leaving the land, we had other produce in line waiting to be tended. Jackfruits were usually ready right about now. We can have them raw or soft and golden. The raw ones were perfect for chutney and curries. And the juicy yellow pulps of the jackfruits could be dessert or made into desserts.

Bananas give us fruits many times in a year, and they’re something we give as gifts when we visit relatives. The light green leaves you’re seeing in a bamboo tray are the leaves of Ma Toom or Bell Fruit. They can be served on the side of local meat salad.

The water in our ponds was slowly rising, and we could see fish jumping on the surface. My mom didn’t do anything much about it right now because she knew that two weeks, the whole things would be filled.

The best thing about Rainy Season is you don’t have to water the plants. The soil is moist and nourishing, and the plants are happy. It’s a perfect time to harvest the bonuses from the farm.

Here are some young apple eggplants. They’re crispy and crunchy. I love them in chicken curry, and I love them in Papaya Salad.

Custards apples started to pull the branches down now that they became heavy. My mom was kind of worried that they wouldn’t be ready by the time that she had to travel. They’re something she had been working on all season, and in a few weeks, she wanted to show them off in the markets.

Chilies remained my mom’s proudest produce. In fact, they’re always in high demand, and people started to recognize them as her brand. She sent them to the local shops, restaurants and a local market.

The chilies are her signature product, and everyone loves them because they’re organic and free from pesticide.

These are rose apples. Have you ever tried them?

How about these little berries? They’re called Khao Mao. They’re sour and slight sweet. I don’t even know an English name for these pretty delicious gems.

It had been an experiment for her to commercially grow pomegranates. She hasn’t been happy with the results yet. She often tells me that Indian pomegranates are the best, and she wants to learn a pomegranate farming technique from here this time.

These are Bengal currents, and they’re high in iron and vitamin C.

They’re also great for pickling and turning into medicinal food.

My mom has a lot of lime trees in her backyard, and now they’re full of fruits. To be honest, she didn’t even have time to harvest them so she asked the sellers to come pick them from our home. She would collect a small fee from each gathering, and it’s a way to keep the local food businesses moving.

Look at the beautiful lime fruits on the ground. That’s how much they fall from the trees each day.

So, you see why we love Rainy Season…

It’s the time when we’re insured by the nature abundances.

We could rest and watch the profits springing from we earth.

We have time to enjoy life and to party.

And go to the community events and celebrate festivals.

Here is a dragon fruit tree that grows a little taller than the rest. We couldn’t even reach its fruits so my mom said those fruits were for the birds.

Rainy Season is the time to come together and share. Here are bamboo shoots that have been growing like crazy on our land. My mom smoked them and sent to the shops. They usually vanished as soon as she placed them on the stands.

Her friends would come over to the farm for lunch, something we called Gin Khao Pa which means “eat in the forest” or “picnic.” These get-togethers are usually filled with food cooked with whatever in the land, fish from our ponds, papaya from our trees; and the delicious things are served on banana leaves.

The raindrops made the land become colorful and beautiful.

We even had a ceremony to thank the lands.

A week before her travel to India, she made the last harvest where her chilies were in their prime productions. In fact, the plants are still yielding fruits over there on our farm, and she let her friends and relatives come to get them as much as they want while she’s in India.

It was hectic because the fruits were ready at the same time, and she had so little time to take care of them since she must prepare for the approaching journey as well.

The custard apples were especially flourishing, and thousands of them hit the markets at once.

We grow food not only for our stomachs and to sell, but we do that to share. Giving is an essence of life in a small community where kindness and appreciation always come full circle.

But her next chapter is different…

My mom will be on the new adventures the rest of this years. She’s going to be joining our road trips, treks, meeting new friends, and visiting the farms in India. By the way, if you followed her story for a while now, you would know that she broke her back three years ago, and she had to wear the metal support jacket all the time the last time she was here. Right now, she’s super healthy and energic, and she didn’t need it anymore. People told her she healed the land, and she told them it heal her, too.


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