British farmer plants organic graviola in Brasilia
Written by Michel Nublat | Teacher - 22/nov/2018 #Natural world
Why did I ever get involved with the planting of sour sop (graviola)? Good question! When I embarked on this expensive venture, if I had I known its name in English was SOUR SOP, I think that alone would have discouraged me.
I had just bought a piece of land and decided to play the farmer. My land was too small for raising animals or planting crops. After considerable research and talking to the “experts,” I narrowed down my future activity on this land to fruit farming. Investigating into most of the tropical fruits, I fell head over heels with sour sop. It was delicious and its price per kilo confirmed my love for it.
I knew that organically grown fruits and vegetables have vastly larger quantities of nutrients than chemically grown foods. The non-organic produce you normally buy at the supermarket looks nice but in fact you are swallowing cardboard! It wouldn’t have been logical for me to have even contemplated planting my trees using all those nasty chemicals and pesticides.
Graviola (in Portuguese), guanabana (in Spanish), grand corossol (in French), durian belanda (in Malaysian), katu-anodo (in Ceylonese), or zuurzak (in Dutch): whatever you prefer to call it, sour sop is a tropical fruit native to the low-lying areas of Central America and the south of North America. It varies in size from three to twelve kilos.
Apart from it being a delicious fruit if picked ripe, it makes mouth-watering fruit juices, milk shakes, ice creams, jams, and sorbets. If that was not enough, although tests have yet to be carried out on humans, sour sop’s cancer-fighting properties have been tested by more than 20 pharmaceutical companies and it has been shown to effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 different types of cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, lung, and pancreatic cancers be 10,000 times stronger in killing colon cancer than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug selectively hunt down and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells, unlike chemotherapy.
Both in Europe and the USA, although not yet officially recognised as a cure, many people are taking sour sop either as a tea or in capsules in order to strengthen their immune systems. The tea is also taken to lose weight.
Back in 1997, the technicians of Emater and even serious researchers from Embrapa assured me that I was heading for trouble. They liked me because I was the eccentric Englishman, the Greenpeace chap playing organic farmer out there in the Lago Oeste - not to be confused with the Far West, but, sometimes it does not seem so different! They said that sour sop could be grown in the DF but only using lots and lots of pesticides: organically, no way!
Like any trade or profession, you have to learn it, and in my case it was the hard way. After having suffered attacks from insects I could not even imagine existed, fungus attacks, two fires, and farm worker attacks, and having taught myself the organic techniques and adapted them to sour sop by trial and error, I am on the verge of finally and successfully producing the fruit.
Although sour sop is extensively farmed in the Northeast of Brazil, guess where the largest plantation of organic sour sop is in the country? Right here in the Federal District! How did this happen? While most Brasilienses were at the club, playing football or barbecuing, Michel was in the Far West!
See more articles