Sometimes we forgot that people may not know just what exactly we are doing here on the other side of the world in sub-Saharan Africa. Larissa and I were talking about her friends the other day and she was wondering if they remembered her or wondered what she was doing. So, she decided to take a quick walk around the farm with me and grab some pics so we could share with you.
Our family lives right on the farm now. While I wash dishes, I look out on the gooseberry fields. When Erik works at his desk he can see across to our orange grove. Upon stepping out the door, you can see more gooseberries, raspberries, and just a glimpse of the blackberries. As you continue to walk out of our yard, you will arrive at the entrance to the processing building. Inside these walls, berries are checked for quality, weighed, labeled and stored in our walk-in cooler until delivery. Also, berries are processed washed, decapped, and made into puree for jam. Jam is cooked and bottled. Honey is bottled. Whole berries are frozen and packaged. Green beans are weighed and packaged. Jobs are received. Hard-earned wages are given. Delivery vans are loaded...sometimes before the day even begins to dawn. Market ladies come with their babies tied to their backs with chitenges to buy berries to sell on the streets of Kitwe. Hands are busy. Feet and backs get achy from standing so long. Laughter is shared. Meetings are held. The love of Jesus is shown.
As we stroll on past the processing building we pass the raspberries and gooseberries. The raspberries are still looking rough. It's a trial crop here and so far they aren't big fans of Zambia. To our right are the blackberries, and they are looking good.
They are just beginning to blossom. (I think I need a new camera...my phone just doesn't take the highest of quality pictures. Thanks for your patience.) Hopefully, blackberry harvest will begin Decemberish. As we continue on around the farm we come up on our Chilean blueberry patch. These don't look great but they are trying. Another trial crop. They are currently full of unripe fruit but the actual plants aren't very bushy yet. We will see.
As we circle around what we call Plot 1, we go past more blackberries and gooseberries. Along our front drive, lemongrass plants are growing. A Peruvian woman told me last week that in Peru they make tea with lemongrass. It intrigued me and it is on my list to do more research into fresh lemongrass uses. (other than chewing on it of course)
I am guessing I need to get to the inner stalks for the best flavor. But somehow I don't think Erik will appreciate me destroying the landscaping. But maybe...I can have it packaged and sell it??
In the above picture you can see across the road to Plot 2. Behind the Lifesong teacher housing are more crops. On this side you will find: orange trees, peach trees (another trial), more raspberry trials, greenbeans (as a rotation crop), and over 20,000 strawberry plants.
The peach trees are just coming out of their "winter funk". It has been fun to watch as each of them have been breaking dormancy at different times. When we arrived, these were so small and now most of them are over Erik's head.
Of course, the strawberries are the main attraction here at Lifesong Farms. They are doing quite well. We continue to search for new customers and new marketing opportunites to sell berries that are coming so quickly.
The orange trees look great. They are grafted on to lemon stock which is much hardier. Our kids find it quite amazing that if you cut off the trunk of the orange tree a lemon tree will grow back. Here's hoping they will take our word for it. I can just imagine them now setting up an experiment for this one.
That's a quick walk around the farm. We would love to share it with you in person. Let us know when you are coming to this side of the ocean! ;)