On Sunday we decided to combine a morning walk around the valley with a few tasks involving our neighbours.
First stop was the finca of our friends Peter and Maureen, to take photos of their rather impressive agave ‘flower’. It still appears to be growing and, for the time being, there’s no sign of the thing keeling over in its death throes. Our friends have a plum tree, seemingly growing out of a concrete terrace, and in previous years they’ve been able to harvest plenty of fruit. This year, it had just six plums growing and Peter told us to help ourselves when they were ripe. Having done our David Bailey bit with the agave, we picked the few fruits – which were at the point of perfection.
With three in each pocket of my shorts, we continued down to our German neighbours, where we delivered a bottle of Mallorcan Sa Rota wine from Bodegas Bordoy in Llucmajor. This was our way of thanking them for a recent gift of oranges, courgettes and lemons from their garden. Many years ago they kept horses and, because of that, their land is very fertile. Ours isn’t, which means we can’t reciprocate with any produce of our own. But we’ve found an arrangement that seems to suit both giver and receiver: a thank-you gift of grapes-in-a-bottle.
Halfway through our walk, plum juice started to seep through my shorts: the motion of walking had bruised the fruit, so we had no choice but to eat them as we went. And they were delicious. We were still licking the juice from our lips when we passed the old pig farm – now used mainly for arable crops (although there are always two porkers snuffling around under their huge fig tree). Toni – the Mallorcan who works the land there – called out a greeting and offered us some of his plums. The branches of his old tree were heavily laden with the ripe fruit. He whipped a plastic carrier bag out of his pocket and, minutes later, it was full of plums.
In a jam
Our next stop was the house of another friend, Michael, who has a few fig trees. He’s not on the island at the moment and can’t take advantage of the figs that are already ripe. So we came to an agreement with the wasps that were taking advantage of the seemingly unwanted figs and managed to pick a few without being stung.
With such a lovely bounty of fruit, there was only one thing to do when we returned home: despite the heat of the first full day of summer, I set to and made three pots of fig jam. When Michael returns to his island home, we’ll give him a pot and he’ll be able to taste the fruits of his own garden labours.