Food

Salak Pollination

Salak Pollination

As apprentices at Rancho Mastatal, we take on a Plant Skill, where we each are responsible for a plant variety in our agroforestry system. When we began as apprentices many of us wanted to avoid the Salak palm, as it has splinter inducing spikes throughout the stem and leaves. Following my intention to dive into challenges this year, I decided to take being caretaker of the prickliest palm on the Ranch.

From Tree to Bar: How to Process Raw Cacao

From Tree to Bar:  How to Process Raw Cacao

Living in the tropics I found myself surrounded by cocoa trees, which was something you’d dream about as a kid. “Chocolate trees” But like so many things we’re used to consuming we don’t have the knowledge of how to process a raw material into something we can use, within the society we live convenience has removed us from the source. A simple act of making something gives us a connection to our environment.

Dairy Diaries: How I Make Dairy Kefir

Dairy Diaries: How I Make Dairy Kefir

 My name is Ryan and I'm part of the apprentice team at Rancho Mastatal for 2019. I've been navigating my lactose-intolerance since I was a child and gluten-intolerance since I identified it approximately five years ago. In this and the following installments of Dairy Diaries. I'll be exploring dairy kefir, in my personal effort to find ways to make dairy products I enjoy healthier, more digestible and more delicious.

The Biodigester

The Biodigester

It's 5.30 am in the dewy morning rainforest of Mastatal – the cacophony of squawks and birdsong remind us that the winged beings have begun their daily business of foraging for themselves and their young, the toads have tucked themselves into the nook of a tree or within a pile of leaves to avoid the relentless heat of the new day, and one by one the guests at Rancho Mastatal stretch and yawn their way out of their abodes and ease their way towards their first cup of coffee.

How to Make a Simple Woven Basket

How to Make a Simple Woven Basket

One of my favorite hobbies is working with natural fibers. Soon after arriving here at the ranch as a new apprentice, I was eager to experiment with weaving a simple basket. The Ranch has an existing collection of beautiful baskets, which play an important role in storing food, while maintaining necessary airflow in this hot, humid climate.