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