Day 201-202: so. Much. Food.

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Flag of Germany  , Berlin,
Friday, February 7, 2014

On Thursday Paul and I didn't really do too much. Our friend from 'free your stuff berlin' came over and we loaded her up with cups, plates and an iron- more of Specky's stuff. She is from Croatia, really nice and we always end up talking and drinking tea for a couple of hours before she realises the time and has to scoot off.

We also packed more of our things. Paul has made little boxes for all of our fragile presents. Hopefully this will prevent them from breaking on the flight home. We have accumulated a lot of things living here in Berlin, and seeings Paul has a weight limit of 37 kgs including cabin luggage, we have to cull. We are also giving up the unit as we are not sure what our plans are, so we are packing everything up here too. A little bit of work. It's a nice place and we are a little sad to leave it behind, but there is no point continuing to pay rent when we won't be here for the next couple of months and may not even come back.

On Friday we were taken by marc to the one and only Fruit logistica! This was an enormous seminar, conference, expo thing for any company associated with fruit and vegetable production. The sole purpose of this expo was networking. Marc was invited by a company that he buys his boxes off or something like that. I couldn't quite draw the connection, but we got free passes, being employees of Marc so we were happy. Marc was excited to show us where he worked for ten years and what happens inside the Messe Berlin fair grounds.

This place is enormous and has some interesting history to it. It was designed by Albert Speer in 1936 for Hitler and was home to much footage from "Olympia," the controversial documentary directed by German film maker and Nazi sympathiser Leni Riefenstahl. I was told that some of the fair grounds were home to the Berlin Olympics too.

Here's some more info on this place nowadays:

Messe Berlin GmbH organizes trade fairs, exhibitions and congresses in Berlin and abroad. Its programmes includes world trade fairs such as the Consumer Electronics Unlimited, the ITB Berlin, the International Tourism Fair Berlin, ITB, the ILA Berlin Air Show and the International Green Week. Messe Berlin operates the 160,000 m² fair site underneath the Radio Tower and Europe's biggest congress centre, the International Congress Centre ICC Berlin.

The Berlin Trade Fair belongs to the ten trade fair companies with the highest turnover in the world, and is also the international trade fair company in Germany with 66-70% exhibitors from all over the world, and up to 70% specialist foreign visitors.

The fruit logistica wasn't hard to find. There was Fluro pink carpet leading right on into it. This exhibition was huge! There was fruit manufacturing companies from machines to wash the fruit, to machines using infrared to detect weather the fruit was sweet or bitter. There were machines to sort fruit out in terms of colours and shapes and to package the produce. There was also companies involved in storage, freight, bees to fertilise, nets, thermometers, sprinkler systems, water.. Everything! And then there was the fruit and vegetables themselves! Hall upon hall upon hall upon hall of fruit and vegetable displays. I never realised there was so many different varieties of the one kind of fruit and vegetable. I have never seen so many apples, potatoes, onions, capsicums or strawberries in my life! And I had no idea how controlled this industry was. Well I had my suspicions, but really every single item looks exactly the same and it really does come off a production line. And the way they are grown. There really isn't that much nature left to it. It's all done inside and with so many control mechanisms.

There were so many samples too. I am so glad that we didn't eat much before we came because we sure filled up on apple slices and strawberries.

After 4 hours of walking around looking at everything the day began to come to an end. This was the final day of the fruit logistica so there was a lot of food that needed to be disposed of. As this was an invite only event and not open to the general public, everything was just being given away. We came home with 3 giant green bags full of vegetables and apple slices. I was also given a kilogram of dates and a rosemary pot plant. As we were leaving stall owners were just standing infront of us with vegetables, dumping them in our bags. One man who had the apple slices in a bag, stuffed about 30 bags into my green bag. Whhaahhh what am I going to do with all of these apple slices?

The stalls were enormous too and some were so over the topic, especially the pink lady stall. It was pink with a disco ball, lounges and glitter everywhere. There were glass display cabinets with the fruit inside, water fountains and some even had fake trees with fruit in them. There was also mushroom farms, bumble bee farms and camera crews everywhere. It was a bit crazy and in the end was a little overwhelming.

The business of fruit.

We returned home with our mountain of fruit and vegetables and decided to simmer it all down into a delicious pasta sauce. This was the only thing we could think of considering we had over 20 tomatoes, a kilo of onions, 6 capsicums, mushrooms, eggplant and carrots. We cooked a rich beautiful sauce which we have since enjoyed on spaghetti, lasagne and on numerous pieces of toast. For dessert we used all of the apple slices and made an apple crumble. We also had a lot of oats that we needed to use up so it seemed like a good idea. marc then joined us and we feasted out on all of the days produce. It was a bit of a conflict of ethics for us because we all knew that the process and production of these foods were far from natural in any way. They had probably all been genetically modified and were completely out of season. On the other hand, it was completely free and was going to be thrown away if we didn't rescue it. So I am not sure what's better in this scenario. It's a strange world...Hopefully our bodies won't mind too much!
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