IT’S all go on the farms and vegetable plots out here, with the spring ‘harvest’ coming to the fore.
Along country roads there are numerous open backed vans complete with awnings and trestle tables displaying all manner of home grown fruit and vegetables for sale, surplus to the families’ own requirements.
Most noticeable and numerous among these are the mounds of 5kg bags of oranges. These are there for as little as €1.50 per bag. The crop has suffered from bad frosts over the winter and I suppose that the equivalent of ‘The man from Delmonte’ has said a resounding NO!
They’re mostly still OK for fruit juice and marmalade – you can stand quite a bit of wastage at that price, can’t you!
In a more modest way most Portuguese have their own veg plot, which all seem to be prolific. Our neighbour on the Monte, Drucilla, often bustles down with a couple of cabbages the size of medicine balls, or a bag full of peppers each as big as a four-litre milk carton.
A number of the Brits have a go. I had to run neighbours Clive and Rita to the airport last week on an emergency return and they festooned us with all manner of their products which they wouldn’t be needing or using.
I now have enough onions to supply Lidl for a month!
Another consideration for us is the hay (feno) harvest. We had a few wet weeks in May last year but this year has been warmer and drier, so off they go a-gathering. Our lass got a call from our supplier Fabio last night asking, well, actually telling us, how much we wanted.
Ruth tried gamely tried to establish just how much this actually was, as we have limited storage, and concluded it was but a small delivery, maybe 18 bales, due in the morning, Sunday.
There I was quite early on Sunday morning munching on my breakfast muesli when the light from the first floor balcony window gloomed over, as if it was an eclipse! The ‘small’ hay delivery was here, towering off the back of a straining, aged flat-back which looked in imminent danger of collapsing.
Choking down the rest of my breakfast I dashed out on the heels of Ruth, who was asking, via semaphore, if it would all fit in our little store. The only English Fabio knows is ‘no problem’ so we were going to give it a go.
Ropes were cast off while we palletted out the floor area and there were three of us at it with the hay, one old guy (built like Desperate Dan by the way) chucking them off the back of the wagon as if on piece work, muggins here picking them up and carting them into the store with Fabio stacking them, I must admit quite masterfully. When we were done, in my case quite literally, there were 104 bales stacked, at an average of 30kg each, so you can do the sums.
Having paid up and supplied a few cans of beer (cerveja), after Ruth’s offer of water was rejected out of hand, we all sat back and blew out our cheeks. I also blew out my nose as the old hayfever was hitting a good 10+ on the sneezometer!
The new delivery also makes our dog, Bom, ever so happy. There are so many new smells on the hay and so much exploring to do.
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