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“Old-Folk” Wisdom: Life at the Farm by Nívia Gomes

by on September 12, 2016
Nívia Gomes Takes You on a Journey to her Old Farm in Minas Gerais

There is a Brazilian song that starts with the sentence: “Today, I woke up missing you…” and it’s true! How wonderful it is to bring to mind the pleasant memories of the past. So many things have changed… I remember my childhood, the trips to my grandparents’ farm. Come, travel with me.


Nívia Gomes is a Brazilian entrepreneur, artist, artisan, baker, chef, writer, wife, mother of four, brilliant business woman, filled with wisdom from the past. Nívia is now a contributor to Living Health Magazine and will be sharing all this wisdom with you.

We’d drive our car down an inclined road, then proceed on foot or by horse. After crossing a large wooden bridge, we would run through the little dirt path until we reached the barn’s gate. There were very few houses out there; birds sang under the forest’s shade, and the great dam furnished electricity to the farms. By the side of the road were rice, coffee, corn, and bean plantations, along with many others that we no longer see today.

Upon arriving at the farm, we’d greet the cows, horses, goats, sheep, chickens and any other animal you can imagine. Today, it is all gone, but when you combine the memories with the longing for a day past, you remember the lessons from that time. Lessons learned from my mother, who learned them from my grandmother, who learned them from my great-grandmother who… Instead of keeping it all to myself, I have chosen to share some of this “old wisdom” with you. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful.

At the farm, there was a huge coffee plantation; the workers would pick the coffee beans and then would place them in a large portion of land to dry. Afterwards the coffee was bagged and stored in a bunker, a large storehouse. Whenever necessary, my grandmother would beat a part of this coffee, run it through a sifter, toast it and then grind it. Hmmmmmm… the delicious smell and flavor!!!

I remember my grandmother making this aromatic, wonderful coffee and then putting chicken fat in it! And it wasn’t just any kind of fat. She would kill one of the large, overweight chickens, from the many that roamed around the farm. The chickens were truly cage-free, raised in the pasture, eating the left-over vegetables and legumes from our very own garden, and corn that was picked and dried in the dirt yard. She would place the chicken fat in a small soap-stone pan and would leave it simmering on top of the wood stove, until the fat melted. Whenever anyone caught a cold or had those horrible coughing spells, my grandma would prepare the fresh coffee and add one teaspoon of this melted chicken fat. She would tell us to drink it and go straight to bed. She then would come after us with a tablespoon of the warm chicken fat, straight out of the wood stove, and would apply it to our chest. Afterwards, she would cover us and kiss us good night. The next morning, we were all ready for all kinds of mischief!!!


a) For vegans, you can do the same using unrefined, virgin coconut oil instead of chicken fat. You can warm the coconut oil to apply onto the chest.

b) For vegetarians, you can add butter to the coconut oil. Bullet-proof coffee is exactly that:

  • 2 tbs. of coconut oil
  • 1 tbs. of ghee or butter
  • 1/2 cup of coffee
  • Add all to a high-speed blender and blend until oils are emulsified


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