It is now May and I’ve found myself wwoofing at a fruit winery, unable to taste any of the wines. The chores here involve bottling cider, labeling wine, raking leaves, gardening and general cleaning. Not as much wine making experience as I would have liked, but interesting none the less. I spend a week there on my own sleeping in a lofted bed behind the kitchen of the tasting room. Then three other wwoofers (two Germans and a girl from France) join me for the following two weeks, and Peter joins us on weekends. While they are just starting their travels, Peter and I are finishing ours. I am mentally preparing to head back to Minnesota for the summer and Peter is well into the daily grind of his new job. But it was nice to have some company.
The most exciting day with the other wwoofers was getting a chance to make cider. We used an apple masher and juice press to turn many pounds of apples into a barrel of apple juice and then watched as our host pitched the yeast. The brew started to bubble and ferment hours later. Other days were spent gardening and weeding. One lovely, sunny, almost-winter afternoon, our French friend made us French crepes for lunch which we enjoyed on the patio with yogurt, honey, cheese and fruit. We made several trips to the beach together and to town to buy peanut butter chocolate. Some evenings we cooked as a team in our separate winery kitchen and other nights our hosts made us dinner at the main house. The Germans made oatmeal bread daily for our shared breakfasts, and I made the first feijoa pie in history (probably). It was finally feijoa season, Peter and I had been hearing so much about this exciting new fruit. Most people claimed it as their favorite. It ripens in the fall, so now was the time to try this exotic treat. It looks like a green grenade, you cut it in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon. The texture is part gooey and part grainy like a pear and the flavor is tart with a floral perfume. Feijoas were one of the main fruits they used at the winery to make wine, along with pears, apples, ginger and plums.
My evenings with the other wwoofers were spent listening to music with the heater blasting to bring some sort of warmth to the cold cement room. We shared music with each other and talked about all the funny kiwi-isms and how even for me, as a native English speaker, their accents are sometimes hard to understand.
This next song is one that the radio played constantly, the other wwoofers loved it and would always turn it up and sing along. I can’t say I loved it at all. In fact it got to be annoying and a bit grating after only the third time. But it seems to represent what that time was to me. I can’t say I loved it. I was ready to be done before we started the third week, as sometimes the work seemed pointless, with lack of gratitude but at least I had these three crazy wwoofing backpackers next to me.