While in New Zealand, one of the things on our 'to-do' list was WWOOF. For those who are unfamiliar with the acronym, it is Willing Workers On Organic Farms. It is a work exchange scheme where travellers, or anyone really, volunteer on a farm in exchange for room and board. The WWOOF network spans the globe, and WWOOFing in New Zealand is especially popular. We decided to try our hand at farm work and organized a week-long stay on the lovely Puramahoi Fields in beautiful Takaka.
Puramahoi Fields is a thirty acre, organic vegetable farm and CSA run by a New Zealand-American couple; they grow everything - leafy greens, root vegetables galore, summer and winter squash, all kinds of herbs, peppers, tomatoes and more, and raise chickens and geese. And, summer's end in the Southern Hemisphere means bountiful harvests and lots to prepare for the weekly CSA pickups and farmer's markets.
We particularly enjoyed The Grove hike, which resembled the setting of Jurassic Park, visiting the Pupu Springs, home to the clearest water in the world, having drinks at the (in)famous Mussel Inn, wandering around town soaking up the free-spirited energy, and gazing up at the crystal clear glow of the Milky Way, before retreating to our 1960's era camp trailer! I think Takaka is one of my new, favorite places.
Then there was the food. I volunteered to cook dinner for the group, which quickly became the highlight of my day. The carefully sown, organically grown, freshly harvested, in-season veggies paired with equally fresh local fruit, home baked bread, and eggs gathered from Puramahoi's chicken coop were so colorful, flavorful and oh so pure. It reinforced my passion for locally-grown organics, my interest in working towards this being the norm and not the exception back home, and shed new light on living a more sustainable lifestyle. Food for thought for another day...