Camino Tip No. 16: Don’t steal the farmer’s produce

As you walk thCamino Tips 16e Camino, you will pass through some of Spain’s fertile farmlands—fields abundant with crops such as grapes, olives, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, peppers, squashes, grains, sunflowers, alfalfa, and more. During harvest season, you may be tempted to eat some of this crop, rationalizing that “the Camino provides.”  I even heard someone say that taking one piece of fruit or one small bunch of grapes is telling the farmer how much you appreciate his crop, but that taking two servings is stealing. Poppycock! Taking one piece is stealing from the livelihood of the farmers whose small and large acreage border the Camino. Farmers work hard to grow a crop, not to feed the pilgrims who walk near their fields.

Think of the numbers. There are close to 200,000 pilgrims who complete the Camino each year. If everyone samples the produce, the amount stolen becomes enormous.

Use common sense. If there is an odd apple tree that is uncultivated and far from a farmer’s field, then you might consider eating the fruit. If you have to walk onto private property or into a cultivated field, it is stealing to take that fruit.

Foods that you can take as you walk the Camino

  • Berries and grapes that grow wild on the side of the Camino. In September, there are a lot of blackberries and raspberries in Galicia.
  • Almonds and chestnuts that have fallen from the tree
  • Figs
  • Wild edible mushrooms, garlic, and onion, though I recommend that you eat these only if you know what your are doing; some wild poisonous plants can resemble the edible ones.

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