It's been amazing to be on holiday, away from all the usual expectations and surrounded by new sights, scents and flavours. The highlight of our trip to Bali so far has been a visit to the Pande coffee plantation near Gunung Kawi. It's farmed by Agus and has been in his family for several generations. Narrow terraces are carved into the side of a hill growing an incredible mix of edible plants, not just coffee as we first thought. It reminded me of the farm we visited in Peru. Both so very different to Australia with our flat, flat farms stretching to the horizon.
It's a small scale organic farm with lots of different plants and animals. Everything here is interconnected and nothing is wasted. Manure from the cows is used as fertiliser. Empty plastic bottles have been built into a greenhouse. A log has been turned into a beehive. The pigs were the happiest I've ever seen and had the funniest faces.
We spent a happy couple of hours being led around the farm by Agus who is very knowledgeable about plants. I was so excited to see vanilla and patchouli plants along with coconut, durian, bamboo, jak fruit, papaya, banana, coffee (Arabica and robusta) and cacao. Agus broke open a ripe pod and we got to eat the zesty flesh around the cacao nib. Mmmm, delicious.
The herb garden was fabulous with lots of herbs I knew along with some I had never heard of. Agus told me all the names, gave me leaves to smell or taste and explained all their uses. I think my favourite herb was cat's whiskers. I wish I could remember what it did!
The real star of the farm, however, was patient and passionate Agus. His love and respect for the land were obvious and it was wonderful to spend time with someone so passionate about treading lightly on the earth.