If you happen to get lost in the outskirts of Araraquara you may feel like you’ve entered a maze. Marcia will agree with me (she took a “detour” to get us to our destination today,..as she does all days). The network of roads here are not paved but are instead natural red dirt roads, pot holes and all. Edging the roads on both sides are 3 meter stone walls as far as you can see. A Brazilian expression I learned when describing something that goes on for a long time like a stretch of road is “tuda vida” which means “all your life”.
It feels very closed off, deserted and uninviting but inside these walls lie beautiful chácaras and secret gardens abundant with fruits and vegetables and sometimes animals. Today, for our Portuguese class, we got to see what was on the other side of the “wall” at Carols and Du’s Organic Garden Chácara.
This couple is quite the dynamic duo! Carol runs an organic brand called SumuHumus in which she sells organic food grown in their own garden. Everything from tomatoes to kale to papaya and banana. She even sells her homemade tomatosauce, kombucha, ghee and lots of other divine food things that just makes me want to whip out my wallet and max out my (Peter’s) credit card. But I have to wait until Sunday. On Sunday Carol sends out her menu with what’s available from her garden. You then order online and pick it up at the chácara.
Du is an artist and works on canvas, murals, thermoses, plant pots you name it. He does beautiful art in incredible vibrant colors Brazilian style. His collection from the World Cup earlier this year has some really interesting symbolism eluding to soccer fanaticism blinding us to the corruption and ugliness surrounding soccer.
Their home is also their workplace and I don’t blame them, I envy them. The environment behind these walls is calm, moist, deep green and lush and a bit bohemian. Very different from our surroundings at our home in town.
Du gave us a tour of his studio and some of his work and then Carol took us around the garden. We were very surprised to learn that the chácara was completely bare, just a lot really, when they bought it 4 years ago. It was hard to imagine an empty lot standing among salad beds and rows of full grown banana trees.
On our way back Carol introduced us to a funny little cucumber covered in thorns called “Maxixe”. I’ve seen it in stores but not dared try it. Tasted just like cucumber and the thorns were pretty soft, no need to peel! Can’t wait to put in a salad, thorns and all.
We also got to see what Moringa looks like. I only use it in powder form in my matcha but Marcia uses the leaves in smoothies and juices and other things.
Before we got back on the dirt road to pick up kids at school Carol showed us her kabucha farm which I will definitely try to do myself.
Marcia found her way out of the maze beautifully and dropped us in the middle of bustling housewife life again at school.
Another fantastic field trip with Marcia and the other housewives Anna, Mini, Linda and Ingeborg. Now I will eagerly await Sunday to browse SumuHumus’ selection and burn a hole in Peters pocket (I don’t wear pockets very often).