This was one of my favorite experience thus far in this country. Partly for the fact that it was unique and unexpected, but also because of how Roderick shared his ideas and farming philosophies with us. My 3 friends and I were in awe throughout the entire experience.
Roderick lives in the Central Valley (the mountainous area outside of San José) with his family and cares for his organic farm that he inherited from his father almost 40 years ago. The grass that had been matted down over time created a solid enough path for Roderick to lead us up the hill. Tall reaching trees were surrounded by a collection of plants and bushes of fruit. He stopped often and ripped off a leaf of a bush and would tell us what it was called, and then tell us to eat it. The couple leafs that I tried were surprisingly tasty. The leafs had very distinct flavors. I remembered there was one that tasted like strawberries, and all my friends agreed it had a deliciously sweet flavor.
Roderick showed us the plant that he grows to make his very own fertilizer that he then uses for the other plants. I really took a lot from what he discussed with us. The composted earth and fresh and fertile soil that he let us smell represented how rich his life really was. It went further than just a property. He stressed the importance, in his perspective, and I agree, of knowing where your body’s fuel is originating.
Every meal that his family prepares comes from what he
grows. There is a connection with the planet that you inevitably make when you live this way. Although I can’t relate completely because I’ve never lived on a farm or grown more than tomatoes, mint, or basil, I found a way to connect personally with the words Roderick spoke.
Eating a plant-based diet gave me a passion to feed my body healthily not only with food, but with thoughts. You feel a certain tie to earth’s inhabitants when you realize just how much things around you are affected by the way you chose to live. I felt more in control once I decided to start a plant-based diet, that I could personally make a change in the lives around me. All lives. All living things. The plants on my porch, the tree in my backyard, the spider weaving a web outside my window. Roderick did not force any ideas that were proposed, but simply planted the seed of his way of life.
We pick coffee beans, brought them to his kitchen, and watched him grind them with a manual grinder on his kitchen table. Later, we sat down and drank the coffee, fresh and black. I’m more of a tea person, but this was the most pure and flavorful coffee I have ever had the opportunity of drinking. My friends and I were laughing while drinking it, all claiming that we would never ever drink coffee from anywhere else because no Dunkin Donuts or gas station could dare compare themselves. This was the real deal. Straight from the bush. Doesn’t get much better than that.
This organic and bio-dynamic lifestyle proves itself extremely sustainable and good for the soul. Preparing garden beds and growing spinach, kale, parsley, cilantro, lemons, oranges, blackberries, coffee, of course, and more, composting their food and reusing the earth evidently gives purpose to Roderick, his family, and future generations. The passion for his way of life was obvious and honorable.
After being showed around his farm we were taken to the deck hut where we drank our coffee, played with Toca, their precious dog, and had the opportunity to buy homemade products of Roderick and his wife. There was organic pesto, teas, and camotella. The tea ingredients were very health specific as far as what it reconciled in the body. I chose to buy a bag of tea bags and a jar of camotella, which was made from the vegetable called camote morado (camote is a vegetable similar to a sweet potato from the US, and morado means purple) If you know nutella, you know it’s a spread-like, butter consistency. So this product was called camotella because the camote morado was made like a spread/nutella consistency. I ate it with tortillas or toast.
My heart was full of content when I left there. I felt that a new seed of inspiration had been planted and I wanted to continue to be a contributor to the improvement of our environment. If you ever find yourself near San José, take some time to venture up in the mountains of the Central Valley and give this place a visit. I would even say that the coffee should be a big enough motivation: satisfying for the stomach and peaceful for the mind.