Friday, March 17, 2017

Finca Guadelupe, San Cristobal

Today, Jaime had organized a day trip to the highlands and we were invited to tag along. A bus trip brought us to the Finca Guadelupe in the highlands. 
Harvesting papayas
View from the finca
Everyone loved the puppies. There was a bassett hound type dog that had some kind of hybrid puppies that were quite adorable. 

The owner has been doing a lot of conservation, and the Park has agreed to lend him some giant tortoises if he creates a tortoise pen that the park approves of. This means removing a lot of invasive plant species. So, for the morning, we were handed shovels, pick axes, and machetes, and we went to work removing these invasive plant species. We focused on this one type that has these massive root balls and very long runner like roots, so it takes an extraordinary amount of physical work to remove the whole plant. It's an ornamental plant of some type - the flowers are quite colourful. We also spent the time working on cutting down some invasive vines to allow the native trees and plants to thrive.

We then pressed sugar cane - it is grown on the farm, so we harvested a bunch as well as some lemons. 

Cleaning the sugar cane so it can be pressed

There is an old fashioned sugar cane press with a long handle that grinds two gears and you feed the sugar cane in. In pairs, teams on either side of the long handle pushing it around in a circle so the gears would work. 
Piece of peeled sugar cane with a pretty awesome view

The juice is then strained, and given that it is basically sugar, fresh squeezed lime is added to it. After the hard work in the sun pulling up invasive plants and then pressing the sugar cane, it was a welcome refreshment!

We then went to see the waterfalls. San Cristobal is the only island that has fresh water year round and on a permanent basis. he farm has focused on conservation because this land could have been used for farms, which could have been a serious problem because they might not have conserved what was on the island. 

It was really interesting to experience everything at the finca, and special thanks to Jaime for arranging the excursion! Just in case you thought the sugar cane press was all work and nobody had any fun.....

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