Wednesday, January 7, 2009

sorry I haven't written or posted any photos in awhile. things got really busy and now they are dead again. It was so busy that I had to work on the first of january after dancing the night away. I brought in the new year with some friends of mine and some friends of friends, it was a wonderful evening with fireworks and dancing. I can't believe that it is already 2009 and I have been here for two months already. Below are some photos of new years eve in Quepos. from left to right Kevin, Brad, Melissa. We went to eat at this little place that had wonderful food. my last meal of 2008 was a chicken kabob with rice and beans. yum, yum
This was the CRAZY scene in Quepos. sorry the photo is so bad. the people in the middle with the sparkley outfits were dancers, it almost seemed Brazilian, they were dancing to drums and to someone blowing a whistle. After they were done dancing everyone began to dance themselves.
These are some friends of friends. they are a wonderful family that I met, but they don't speak a lick of english. It is quite interesting trying to communicate with them. I feel like someone that just smiles all the time no matter what they are saying. But we all have one thing in common and that is we like to dance.

Okay so for most of you that know me, know that I LOVE vanilla. real vanilla that is. so the other day I had off from work. I went on a spice farm tour that is about a 15-20 minute drive outside of Quepos. It is a very small farm only 27 acres, but it produces very good quality spices. they do everything organic and biodynamic, which means pretty much that the farm is self sustainable and nothing is outsourced. I learned a lot on this tour but won't bore you with all the little details, oooh except two things......first off when you buy "cinnamon sticks" in the grocery store it isn't really from the cinnamon tree it is a relative of the cinnamon tree, real cinnamon is a light brown and is called Ceylon cinnamon. It is hard to come by and pretty expensive. Second, most of anything that is chocolate has vanilla in it, yeah you heard that right, when you buy a chocolate bar or hot chocolate or mostly any chocolate they add vanilla to it. chocolate is actually quite bitter (hence dark chocolate) until you add sugar and a little bit of vanilla. anyways I could keep rambling on and on and on about the tour but I will stop. below are some photos I took on the farm.
above is the way that they measure the vanilla beans, this farm has the largest vanilla beans in the world, when I saw them I couldn't believe it, they are around 10 inches.
this is what they look like after drying them out for a couple of days. oooh glorious vanilla beans!!
They dry them out on these plastic sheets and they get so hot you can hardly touch them. they take all the imperfect beans and make them into vanilla extract. actually when they come off the plant they kind of look like big green beans. Each orchid (the plants flower) has to be pollinated by hand and the process to get them to look like they do here and in store is why they are so expensive.
to the left is cocoa beans (coco) that are drying out and to the right is allspice, that is drying out. the farm produces all different types of spices not just cocoa and vanilla.
above is the cocoa plant or I should say fruit that is what chocolate beans come from.
this is a cocoa fruit cut in half, the seeds are a deep purple but they are coverd in a white sweet part of the fruit. they are about the size of half your thumb.
these are the cocoa seeds that have dried out and are ready for grinding. the farm is so small that they use a big rock that is shaped like an egg (to the left) to grind them, this farm does it just like the native indians in costa rica did.
just a small corner on the farm, with a massive amount of vanilla beans on the table all stacked
another corner of the farm, there is a pastry chef that cooks with all the spices on the farm for the tour. it is the doorway entering into her very small kitchen.
just a pretty flower found on the farm. the rest of the pics are things I saw when walking.

this is a little statue that I found nestled in by one of the cinnamon trees, Im sure a worker but it there for a reason. and lastly a self portrait of myself on the farm.

No comments: