Aug 9th, 2009 |
The landscape between Makkah and Ta’if is littered with mountains and valleys. And the locals take great pride in their produce, even dedicating statues to fruits!. While not as lush and green as the mental image we get when we say ‘valley’, these Wadis are the center of the region’s agriculture, with farmers producing everything from fruits and vegetables to honey!
The numerous valleys in the area are home to many farms. However, during the summer months, the ferocity of the sun forces many of these to close down.
Wadi Mehrim is home to one of the many ancient camel trails that farmers would use to transport their produce to other settlements. Now we have trucks… and camels are food. mmm… baby camel burger
The ancient stones of these trails have long since been damaged due to flooding and the harsh desert climate. But remnants show how a walk down these mountains might have been.
The valleys are also home to a unique set of wildlife. These blue lizards are extremely shy, and it took 15min of chasing to get a good shot. I would also like to report that it might be blue now, but this critter turns a nice golden-brown color once breaded and deep-fried. mmm… lizard. What, you think I’m making this up?! I present to you: lizard kabsa [Slightly graphic, for those of you opposed to lizard murder]
And of course, what desert is complete without the beetles. These guys can be found plentifully all over the sands. Gives me the chills… I’m a little arthrophobic.
The Honey Farmers of Saudi Arabia
Ever wonder how honey producers in Saudi Arabia could mass produce in such a barren country? Well, you probably didn’t; but now that I’ve posed the question, it is an interesting thought isn’t it?
Well, the answer is mobile honey production factories! Here’s how they work: A farmer will allow bees to set up hives on a truck (or move a set of hives to the truck). He would then drive the truck to a valley and let the bees out to start their pollination and nectar extraction work. Once done, he would then move those trucks over to the next valley… and so on.
The trucks themselves are rather unassuming until you come up close and realize that their cargo is wayyy too organic.
Most farmers will deploy an army of such trucks to get the high volumes you see end up in markets.
Now wasn’t that an interesting lesson?
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