When Kenton was with our friend Manuel on Saturday (see previous post), Manuel insisted on picking some oranges and avocadoes for us. He knows we have neither on our land, as our finca is too high (and cold in the winter) to grow those delicate fruit. In Yunquera, they are grown in the valley below the town, where it is always much warmer.
So we now have 50 kilos of oranges, and about 20 kilos of avocadoes. Wonderful. But one reason they are so freely given away is that they are almost worthless to the farmers here.
Take the case of oranges. Manuel has lots of orange trees, and used to sell the oranges for a decent price. Now, they are worth between 4-6 cents/kilo at the local agricultural merchant’s. He cannot afford to pay for a man’s wages to help him pick, when he gets such a low price. Not to mention the cost of irrigation and fertilizer.
We always volunteer to help him pick his orange crop. It takes 2 days, but then he can at least get something for his crop, without paying for extra workers. The rewards are priceless – helping a friend, enjoying a campo lunch together, and a large sacko of oranges!