Fun on the farm

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Apr 30, 2011

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Where I stayed
Rio Muchacho

Flag of Ecuador  , Manabí,
Saturday, July 17, 2010

We have just spent three action-packed and inspirational days at Rio Muchacho, an organic farm near the coastal village of Canoa where travellers and volunteers can spend some time learning about sustainable farming. On the morning of the first day of our visit we went to the Rio Muchacho office in Canoa where we met Francisco, the office manager who was joining us on our tour. The three of us got a taxi a few miles up the coast to the Rio Muchacho turn-off where we were met by Dario, the owner who drove us the rest of the way. The drive up to the farm took around an hour as Dario stopped many times explaining about all the local crops, flora & fauna, and environmental issues of the area.

On arrival at the farm we had a tasty veggie lunch and met some of the volunteers who have been working at the farm for a few weeks. They looked grubby and exhausted but happy.  After lunch one of the volunteers showed us around the farm and explained to us the principles of organic farming and permaculture (basically a form of agriculture that works with nature rather than fighting against it making it sustainable in the long term).  That evening we made chocolate by toasting dried cacao beans in a pan over a fire before peeling them and grinding them with cane sugar. The resulting paste was then heated over the hob with some milk and served over chunks of pineapple and banana. Delicious!

The next morning, we collected some banana leaves and placed them over the fire to make them bend. These were then used to wrap our packed lunch in. Then it was all aboard our trusty steeds for the day (christened Horseface and Plod) and we set off along the track with Leo our guide. We stopped for lunch at the house of a 98 year old woman who has lived alone for the past 20 or so years since her husband died. In the forest behind her house we spotted a howler monkey in the trees. After lunch we swam in the river before returning to the farm. That evening we roast and ground coffee.

The highlight of the last day was milking the cow which is actually rather difficult and has a definite knack to it. From the milk we made cheese which tasted rather like mozzarella. We also planted a tree, fed the goats, and dug up yucca roots which we washed, peeled and grated and made into patties which were fried for lunch. In the afternoon we spent some time in the workshop making rings out of palmar real and tagua wood and bowls out of mate wood.

The next day we headed back to Canoa where we had a goodbye drink with Francisco before catching a bus and boat to Bahia where we spent the night.

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