Over the past three weeks I’ve had my first wwoofing experience on a pecan farm in Central Coast. For those of you who don’t know what wwoofing is, it stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms or Worldwide Oppourtunities on Organic Farms. In summary, it’s a global work exchange program where you work on a farm in exchange for food and free accommodation. I know of a few people who have been interested in wwoofing, so I wanted to share my experience with everyone.
On the Pecan farm I typically work 6 hour days. My schedule is 8 am breakfast, 8:30-10:30 am work, 10:30-11:00 morning tea break, 11:00-1:00 work, 1:00-1:45 lunch break, 1:45-3:45 work, then free for the day! As you can see it’s a very relaxed schedule, and Bob and Wilhelmina have treated me well. I’m well fed everyday -and eating very healthy I might add- and they let me eat ice cream and drink all the wine and cider I want out of their refrigerator. Sounds sweet, right? At the end of the night we usually drink, chat and play Rummikubes, which I’m getting better at, luckily ?. My living space is also pretty nice as well. I have my own trailer with beds, couches, tv and small kitchen area about 50 yards away from Bob and Willies’s house.
The work is pretty easy for the most part, it has days where it’s physically tiring, but I think I got off very easy compared to other farm work. Every day we harvest, process and sort pecans. I’m usually doing something a little bit different each day, so it doesn’t get too boring and repetitive. Learning about the process and how pecans are harvested and processed has been interesting as well!
Autumn is here in Australia, and the Pecan trees are all changing colors, which makes for great views everyday. Apparently there aren’t a whole lot of deciduous trees here, so I’m very lucky to get to see these fall colors everyday.
On my days off I get to go out and see the Central Coast area. On my first day off I went to the Reptile Park where they had all different types of wildlife. They even had Wallabies roaming around freely that you could pet and take pictures with.
On another one of my days off Bob and his friend Robert took me too Boxhead Trail for a hike, which had some great views.
One of my favorite parts about wwoofing with Bob and Willie is how active they are and all the activities they take part in throughout the week. Every Thursday night we go to karaoke night at a local club, which has been a great way for me to meet locals, as well as some of Bob and Willie’s close friends. They’ve even gotten me to sing a few times ? (And I wasn’t even that drunk!). Bob also goes to open mic every Tuesday night at a local bar where musicians from around town come to play music. Along with open mic, he also likes going to Blues music jam sessions and plays the harmonica and sings. Those who know him at these jam sessions call him “Harmonica Bob” or “Pecan Bob”. I love attending both the Blues music sessions and open mic nights with him. Lots of fun and adds to the wwoofing experience!
Wwoofing is great all around because it makes seeing the world very low cost and is mutually beneficial to farmers as well. If you ever try wwoofing be careful, however, because some wwoofing hosts out there do try to take advantage of wwoofers or work them too hard, so I’ve heard. Remember you aren’t technically being paid, just accommodated, so a host should only work you around 30 hours a week. My experience in particular has been great though! I love my host family!
I’ll be here for two more weeks, then headed to back to Sydney on the 10th! I’ll be meeting my mom there and we’ll be driving up the east coast together after hanging out in Syd for a couple days. Can’t wait!