"I need a fresh start" was an answer I gave when asked why I was heading to Portugal, having no idea how many doors would open for me.
Living in a rural village, close to nature, opens a whole world of knowledge and experience. Every day brings a gift in a different form.
Joaquim, our neighbor, visited us spontaneously one day, carrying a package of chestnuts and two bags of apples. One bag of apples he had picked from his trees and another bag of apples that had fallen on the ground. “You can make juice from them” he suggested, "they are organic". Sharon prepared dessert from the apples and then, for the first time, vinegar from the "leftovers".
Another day, Koby and Gary, also our neighbors, came for lunch, bringing with them wild mushrooms she had picked in the forest, seeds of Echinacea and a bucket full of grapes from their garden. "It is the end of the season and they might have started to ferment, so you had better use them very soon".
We changed our afternoon plans and went into the kitchen, washed the grape bunches, and destemmed them. We then pressed them in a cold press juicer, to separate the juice from the pulp and cooked the juice till it became a thick syrup.
The "leftover" grape mash, pulp, was taken to the composter. In a few months it will turn into soil on which we will grow the vegetables that we will later eat. Imagine the skin of the grape we throw today will one day become part of a tomato we eat.
This means zero waste, or one hundred percent recycling. In fact, garbage is a man’s invention. A bad one. It does not exist in nature.
The taste of the juice is indescribable. It had a hint of floral perfume, a deep rich taste, unforgettable, like an artwork you may have seen that will never leave you.
After almost two hours of working in the kitchen, I took a break and rested on the sofa. I flipped through the pictures on my phone, listened to a conversation within, between photographer and farmer.
Pho: I can't publish these pictures.
Fa: Why? It shows exactly what we did.
Pho: look at the frame, all the things in the background that don’t belong here and the terrible light reflections.
Fa: We don’t have time to deal with frames on the farm. We are too busy producing, using existing light, to get great taste. And a kitchen is functional. It is not a studio. If If you are interested in beauty, look outside or open one of these books on the shelf. Wasn’t the taste of the fresh grape juice outstanding?