Jardín Botánico Lankester

Another beautiful place we visited on our trip to Costa Rica, was the Jardín Botánico Lankester in Cartago. This botanical garden is part of the University of Costa Rica to promote enjoyment, conservation and education. They focus on sustainable use of the epiphytic flora through scientific research, horticulture, and environmental education and pay special attention to orchids.

I don’t know much about different types of flowers and plants, but this was a really beautiful place to visit and spend an afternoon. It’s open to the public and you can even purchase flower cuttings to take home and plant yourself. Enjoy!

Linda Vista

During my two-week trip to Costa Rica, we visited several very interesting horticulture companies, gardens, conservatories etc. The first place was in Linda Vista, Costa Rica. This is the location of a growing and production facility for Ball Horticultural Company. Ball is the leading North American producer and distributor of ornamental plants and their seeds.

One of Ball’s largest facilities is the one that I visited in Linda Vista.It’s a truly beautiful place and was very interesting to watch the workers trim and breed the ornamental plants and flowers.

Hope you enjoy some of my photographs from the visit!

Ball Hort

Ball Hort

Ball Hort

Costa Rican Overview

Last year, I was able to take a two week class trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We were able to drive through most of the country, visit with locals and learn about the different agricultural products those countries have to offer. It was an incredible trip and opportunity to visit such beautiful countries.

Costa Rica

Map of Costa Rica

The service and tourism industry has taken over Costa Rica recently. The service industry now represents over 70% of their national GDP with industrial at 22% and agriculture coming in third with only 6%. While this is a big change and a dramatic decrease in the agricultural GPD, 14% of the workforce is in agriculture.

The main exports and products that Costa Rica produces won’t be a shock to anyone – coffee, bananas, pineapples, sugar and ornamental plants. Familiar companies such as Dole, Del Monte, Ball Horticulture and Grupo Acon play large roles in production across the state.

Check back later this week to see more of Costa Rica and its beautiful products 🙂

I bet you didn’t know this about Mexico

I’ve recently learned something pretty fascinating about rural Mexico. There’s a heavy presence of Mennonites! And they farm (and make really good cheese) 🙂

The northern regions on Mexico is where the Mennonite communities have settled  since the 1920s – Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Durango and several others. You will find them speaking Spanish, some English and even German in some communities.

The Mennonites have helped to increase the farming in Northern Mexico growing corn, beans, oats and wheat. They also have greatly increased the milk production in Mexico (Chihuahua is the leading state in the country) through having several large dairy herds. Many of the herds have several thousand head of cattle. Right now, their production is around 100,000 gallons of milk each day!

Dairy farm

Mennonite dairy farm, La Honda, in Zacatacas, Mexico

The thing they are well-known for in Mexico is their cheese. They have created their own special variety, called “queso chihuahua” and produce 155,000 pounds of it each day. This cheese is similar to a mild, white cheddar or monterey jack. This cheese is a staple in many of the meals in Mexico, especially in the northern states. Locals will send it to their family in the U.S. and visitors will always try to take a few pounds back home.

queso

Queso Chihuahua

Check out this link to learn more about the history.

http://mazmessenger.com/2011/06/10/the-mennonites-of-mexico/

http://www.theworld.org/2009/12/mexican-mennonites/

Agriculture in Mexico

When I think of Mexico, agriculture is definitely not the first thing that crosses my mind. I think of sandy beaches, blue water, margaritas and sunbathing. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

But did you know that Mexico is the number one producer of avocados, limes (and lime oil), lemons, onions/chayote and sunflower seeds? They are also heavy producers of papaya, oranges, mangoes, whole beans, fennel, asparagus, peppers, corn and chicken meat.

lime

Lime production in Mexico

Mexico may be a leading producer in several products, but agriculture is still not a leading industry in the country. The agriculture sector accounts for only 5% of their GDP and employs 13% of the work force.

Where are the farms?

Many of the traditional agriculture farms – beef, dairy, corn etc – are grown in central to northern Mexico. Three very popular areas for farming and especially exporting are Culiacán, Bajío and San Quintín.

The more tropical products – lemons, limes, oranges – are grown in the southern regions. More specifically, Michoacán and Colima are the two most important states for the horticulture.

Mexico map

Map of Mexico