Farm Day 3: A Whole Lotta Nuttin´

Soaking up rays in our bed of almonds.

Richard has nicknamed us the American monkeys. It is quite easy to return to youthful tree-climbing habits when you’re picking almonds off 100s of trees for days on end. Swinging between branches is the best way to stay sane. After the first two days of collecting nuts we actually started to enjoy ourselves. During our time here we’re getting to see the entire process – from tree to nicely packaged Whole Foods worthy nuts. And boy do we have a whole new appreciation for individual almonds now. In case you’re interested, we documented the whole almond-collection process, in pictures this time.

Step One. Pick the Almonds. You could stand on the ground and reach up for the nuts but climbing is more fun. And if the almonds are still out of reach, shake the branch with all your might and watch almonds drop to the ground like candy from a piñata.

Step 2: Place the almonds out to dry. The Spanish sun zaps the moisture out of the shell so you can easily pull it off.

Step 3: Get discouraged because a massive machine that looks like a raptor comes in and shakes the almond trees and collects all its nuts in 2 seconds. We only pick the almond trees that the machine can’t reach. This same machine is handy for shedding the shell of the almonds.

Step 4: Sort the almonds into three piles: sellable, unpeeled (given back to a machine) and broken. Best done to music and inappropriate stories from Richard.

Step 5: Sell the almonds. Richard and Sue usually only get about 40 cents per kilo, but this year the almonds were of such high quality they got 71 cents! Overall they had 3 tons (3,000) kilos of almonds. So this whole grueling process will only get them approximately 2,130 euro!  The final price is hardly indicative of all the time and toil put into collecting those little nuts!

Step 6: Find new ways to cook almonds. Lots of nuts fall out of their shells and we get those rejects. So we have come up with 101 ways to cook almonds: nuts and green beans, chocolate covered nuts, curry powder nuts, nuts with oil and salt…

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About sistersbailey

We are Perrin and Sarah Bailey, collectively known as “The Sisters Bailey”. The moniker was born out of a crazy weekend at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest and it was the first time we had ever been referred to as one unit. We grew up in Alexandria, VA together and then separated for college - Perrin to The University of Pennsylvania and Sarah to Northwestern University – and somehow landed together in New York after graduation. It was in the midst of the hustle of Manhattan that we became friends for the first time in years. Somehow we landed jobs in the same industry - Sarah worked in marketing at HBO and Perrin managed creative digital promotions for her media agency’s main client, Disney - just three blocks from one another. One day we decided to leave our jobs, sell our belongings and travel abroad with a backpack and a collective savings of $10K. The stories of our continuing adventures and those of other fearless travelers are here to inspire you.
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