Fruits of the World

| 12/13/2016 12:00:00 AM

I am flying down a road on the back of a 1960’s motorcycle. The rush of air feels glorious in the stifling Guatemalan lowland heat. We zigzag around many potholes while semi-trucks from the mines in El Estor roar past us.

My friend, Scott, is taking me to visit Fruits of the World, an experimental farm and nursery. Scott lives on a tugboat on the Rio Dulce, but, like me, he is deeply connected to the earth. He works with biochar and worms to improve the fertility of tropical soils.

Finally, we pull off the main road into a little town. Dodging people and dogs, we weave our way through town. We stop briefly to chat with a man tending a garden, something you don’t often see in these parts. He is growing corn, squash, bananas, some sort of a starchy tropical root, and other things.

We pass through town and continue down a dirt road lined with thin, regularly planted rubber trees. Scott tells me that the price of rubber was high a few years back so many people planted rubber trees, but now the price has fallen again. Before the rubber they grew a type of tree used to make pulp, and before that they ran cattle. 

We dip down into a valley and cross a large river with a collapsed concrete bridge, and finally we arrive at Fruits of the World. As we pull in we see that Dwight is busy with some customers so Scott begins to show me around.

We step among the trees, some of them heavily laden with fruit. The air is heavy with the scent of ylang-ylang. We recognize some of fruit like starfruit, zapote, cacoa, and rambutan, but others are a mystery.