On a very special icy Winter’s morning in the Seberi valley of Southern Brazil all the elements of the dream meta mate harvest were lined up: it was full moon and it was dawn on the morning of the first frost of Winter. In collaboration with Meta Mate Germany, the Prado Gehm family (meta mate producers) synced the production perfectly with the natural elements and made the only known, commercially availabe Ilex Paraguariensis (Meta Mate Leafy Cut 2016) harvested at night during the full moon of June 2016.
The Prado Gehm brothers entered the sleeping forest before dawn and began to harvest while it was still dark. In the forest it was foggy in spite of the full moon shining brightly in the sky. They harvested about 240 kilos of mate from their own native trees that are protected from contamination, growing in a lush bio-diverse environment.
In the meanwhile their father, Vilsom, was preparing a blazing fire for the “sapeco” (a rapid toasting of the meta mate done over live flames in order to stop fermenting of the leaves). The wood used for the sapeco was Cabreuva with Ilex branches and Pitangueira.
The twilight had barely begun when the harvest was brought for the sapeco to get underway and the sound of crackling leaves (a sign of a god sapeco) resonated in the fresh morning air.
By sunrise the meta mate was already stacked on the drying racks of the barbaqua (hot house) where it spent the next day being smoke-dried and absorbing the aromas of selected native species of aromatic and medicinal woods such as the Cabriuva and Guabirova.
At morning 3 days later 80kg’s of dried whole-leaf meta mate was ready and driven to the famous Barão de Cotegipe factory to be vaccum packed into 500g units the following morning.
This precious production will be sold by pre-order in Germany, UK, USA, Bulgaria, Poland and South Africa only. 100g bags will be on offer for the same price as other meta mate small packages and a maximum of 2x 500g units will be allowed per person so that as many Meta Materos can try it as possible.
On a visit to Bulgaria, Fabricio Do Canto (founder of Meta Mate) learned the secrets of rose petal harvesting in the country that produces 85% of the world’s essential rose oil. He spoke to his Meta Mate Sophia partner Mr. Veselin and they saw an opportunity to apply the same principles to a meta mate harvest.
Fabrício in his research found a confirmation of this hint in the book “Os Misterios Ocultos no Chimarrão”, from Wilson Tubino, where it says;
” Since having extensive solar energy in our hemisphere we must try to extract the maximum amount of lunar energy from this plant resulting in a greater effect of the plant’s attributes of introspection and self-awareness. For this reason it is advisable for the harvest to be done at the time of full moon (when the sap of the plant is more abundant in its leaves), and during the dawn between four and six o’clock in the morning (before sunrise), thereby taking advantage of the maximum purity of the oxygen.”
translated by Jovald Henriksen
Science and folk stories around the world suggest that moon phases, time of day and time of year determine the “best” conditions to harvest anything which grows above the ground. The Prado Gehm family of Seberi have been making erva mate in the traditional way for generations. When Fabricio put in a special request to Senhor Vilsom Gehm to undertake a full moon harvest, he agreed, saying, “the old folk used to harvest their herbal medicine during the dawn hours of the full-moon and we will use this ancient knowledge to fulfill your wish.”
Influence of the full moon (la luna)
Between the time of the new moon and the full moon, the moon is said to be, “waxing”. This is when the gravitational pull-force exerted on Earth gets stronger. It is a time of growth and expansion. Like the oceans, the living sap in plants and trees get pulled toward the heavens and they go into the leaves and fruits enhancing their properties in those parts.
It is said that herbs contain the maximum amount of essential oils in their leaves in the early hours of the morning before dawn. The best proof of this is probably found in Rose Valley, Bulgaria where the common practice is to harvest rose petals for their essential oils at dawn. They say that the longer the petals are exposed to the sun’s rays the more essential oils and aroma are lost.
After the harvest and sapeco, the family Gehm wrote to Fabricio amazed at how the sapeco went so well, and reporting of the mate’s sweet notes after drying. They wished their grandparents would be alive to see what they did. Fabrício went to Delray Beach and got to try this novelty 1 week after harvest. The first taste showed amazing honey notes… in fact, “the sweetest mate I have ever tasted”, said Fabricio. Other plant afficionados raved about the female power of this harvest. Meta Mate is looking forward to hear what others will say and they are passionate about developing the best meta mate possible on a continual basis.
Written by Jovald ‘jovi’ Henriksen with contributions from Fabricio Do Canto
Picture: Gehm, Cecatto