One of Samoa’s 720 organic farms
Two years on, one international award winning book later, and Robert Oliver is back in Samoa at Repeka Meafou’s farm at at Faleasiu, on the main island of Upolu. Robert said he would go back and see her with a book but judging by the surprise on Repeka’s face, he’s someone she thought she’d never see again.
Robert presents the family with a signed book and turns to the page with Repeka and her father hand roasting fresh cocoa beans. They share at laugh as Repeka jokes in Samoan that her father looks older in the photo than in real life.
This wonderful family farm is part of Women in Business’s (WIBDI) collective of 720 organic farms in Samoa. Repeka sells extraordinary organic produce off her farm – noni, cocoa, basil, pawpaws, cassava, cucumbers, aubergines, choko, green beans, tomatoes, capsicums and chillies. Repeka hand weaves baskets and fills them with produce ordered by WIBDI customers. The baskets are delivered and the money goes direct to Repeka’s family.
“I’m the only one at home who can work. My parents are retired, my kids are little and because of WIBDI I can stay home and farm. The whole family can work together. I am happy!”
And we were pretty happy when Repeka’s daughter poured us all cups of KOKO Samoa –the national drink. It’s a rich, sweet, warm, cocoa drink all organic and prepared on the farm. Pods are picked from her cocoa grove, dried in the fresh air beside her house and roasted in a fale by the garden.
Robert is taking photos for his next book dedicated to Samoan Cuisine. He’s working with WIBDI, Samoa Tourism, the Prime Minister and the incredible local food producers like Repeka. Shiri Ram is the photographer, Tracy Berno the co-writer and it looks to be every bit as good as the last.
- Robert gives Repeka Me'a Kai
- Repeka laughing after getting the book
- Cocoa pod
- Cocoa drying
- Repeka working