Today we began our adventure with a visit to a Chilean dairy farm in the Casa Blanca Valley. The farm is home to a 1200 head milking cow herd and the farmer is working to grow the herd to 1800. The farm owner is a retired professor of plant physiology and now manages about 200 employees. 40 of these employees work full-time at the dairy, milking 23 hours per day with one hour off for cleaning. In the area we visited, each waterway is partitioned amongst the people living on it.
Next on our travels was a vegetable farm and packing plant. Squash, cauliflower and broccoli are grown on the farm year-long. Lettuce is not grown because it requires a washing procedure that they do not have. Within hours of being harvested, squash was labelled Lois Nieto Gomez, Zapallo and was sent to the grocery store from Parcella sta. Maria, Curacavi. We visited with Maria, the manager, who leads 14 family employees.
Lastly, we made our way to Valparaiso where we climbed narrow brick roads along the edge of the Pacific Ocean. We saw a church which showed the effects of the 2010 earthquake - one that measured 8.3 on the Richter scale! We learned that the country became a democracy in 1990 after 17 years of a military coup. The city of Valparaiso celebrates its love of life through professional graffiti which adds character throughout the city. Valparaiso was one of the most important cities prior to the Panama Canal opening in 1914. Now, the economy is down, and they are promoting tourism within their beautiful city.