Costa Rica Chronicles, Days 5-6: Cooperative farming, Jersey cattle & pineapple slicing

From June 13-21, finalists from the 2011 FFA national proficiency awards and American Star awards are participating in a travel seminar to Costa Rica. The seminar allows participants to develop a global perspective and become more culturally aware of the diversity in agriculture around the world.  Nearly each day, one team from the group will file a dispatch here about their travel.

June 17, 2012
10:34 PM CST (UTC−6)
Day 5

After a rejuvenating afternoon in the hot springs and a restful night’s sleep, we were ready to tackle day six of the Costa Rica Travel Seminar.

Today we had the opportunity of experiencing the town of Zarcero which is home to an extraordinary park with a breathtaking topiary garden. The flora inside this garden were shaped into many different animals and geometric shapes that fit beautifully into the town itself. After spending time in Zarcero, we stopped in the town of Sarchi which is famous for its population of wood workers. The main mode of transportation in Costa Rica used to be traveling by oxcart, which explains the unnaturally narrow roads. We had a tour of the ox cart wood shop in Sarchi and also had lunch in the town as well.

After lunch we made our way to Finca Julietta — an organic dairy farm in the hills of Costa Rica. The farm is currently owned by the family of a late Costa Rican President and uses Normandy and Jersey cattle to produce 30 pounds of milk per cow per day. The dairy makes sure to utilize the organic material produced from the cows in their biodigestor which then in turn powers the farm.

We arrived at our current hotel, The Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel, high in the hills of Costa Rica Sunday night. Due to the elevation, the temperature is very cool and there is much less humidity in the air as well. We had a very nice dinner in the hotel restaurant before many of us watched Forest Gump or the NBA Finals to wrap up the evening here in San Ramon. Monday is sure to be a big day as we head toward the Pacific Coast and to our resort Hotel Parador in Quepos.

Until next time, PURA VIDA!

From Team Muy Calientes

———————-

June 18, 2012
10:56 PM CST (UTC−6)
Day 6

After traveling down the continental divide in Costa Rica yesterday, we spent our day Monday driving through the lowlands to the coastal region on the Pacific coast. After stopping at a delightful souvenir shop where they sold unique hammocks and handcrafted woodwork, we visited a community cooperative farm. This cooperative of over 125 families operates under their own monetary system and government. This visit was very insightful into an alternative farming lifestyle.

We ended our day at a relaxing resort along the coastline, with a magnificent sunset view. The group is looking forward to an exciting free day tomorrow with activity options such zip-lining, natural park tours, deep sea fishing, or a relaxing day by the beach before resuming our agricultural tours.

Be sure to check out this video that shows how fast the workers here in Costa Rica can slice and serve a pineapple!

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