Going green: Camino Verde

Oh Uruguay! When it rains, it pours. We are on hour 13 of nonstop rain. Parts of the country are completely flooded, it’s cold and the idea of going outside is unappealing.

It’s been like this on and off for the past few weeks but this past weekend we were blessed with a break from the wet weather. Our not-so-wet weekend just so happened to coincide with the Camino Verde fair in Montevideo. What’s that? Well, there’s two different parts to Camino Verde. The organization itself serves as a platform to connect merchants and consumers interested in environment friendly products. They also promote healthy living through affordable cooking classes, events for children, and a blog full of clean eating/living information. For my Spanish speaking and reading friends you can find more information here.

The organization puts on fairs every so often to easily connect buyers and sellers. We hadn’t had the opportunity to attend one of the fairs before so I was really excited when Carlos agreed to go. It was a muggy day but overall no rain was to be expected. We packed the car and Paloma with us and headed for Montevideo.

La Molienda food stand. Very friendly and very delicious! Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.
La Molienda food stand. Very friendly and very delicious! Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we arrived but was very pleased to be greeted by lots of green. As you can imagine the majority of the stands were dedicated to food: organic fruits and vegetables, vegan baked goods, chocolates, organic condiments, and amazing food stands. They also had stands dedicated to urban farming like vertical planters, repurposing furniture for planting and stands dedicated to composting.

PJ devouring a blueberry and pumpkin seed muffin.
PJ devouring a blueberry and pumpkin seed muffin.

We only stayed for about an hour but it was definitely worth the trip. I bought some organic coconut oil–normally very difficult to find outside of Montevideo–and some goat cheese. I’ve already had a lot of fun experimenting with the coconut oil. My favorite so far has been putting a teaspoon of coconut oil along with two or three drops of lavender oil in PJs bath water. She comes out silky smooth and smells so good afterwards.

I wish I would’ve taken pictures but I forgot when I stained my favorite jeans with synthetic paint. We sat down to eat on some chairs they had in the dining area and I guess whoever put them out didn’t realize they were still tacky and when I got up the paint was stuck to my thighs. It. was. awful.

Overall we had a nice afternoon as a family and got to learn more about organic and eco-friendly options here in Uruguay. I’m really excited to see how fast the movement is growing here. Can’t wait for us to start farming!

Flyer for event. Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.
Flyer for event. Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.
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Living on a farm: Chacra Canaan

When we decided to move to Uruguay, my parents had it in their mind to live on a farm.

You see, my dad was born and raised in a small town outside of Havana, Cuba. He grew up around livestock and crops. My mom was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She grew up in the concrete jungle. Two TOTALLY different upbringings. But throughout my parents 30+ years of marriage, my dad had been planting seeds in my mothers mind that when they retired they should end up on a farm, that only those who are self sufficient will succeed at the end of the day. I mean, yeah sure he’s right but whatever let’s be real you raised your kids in the sprawling suburbs of Miami. Does it look like we were prepared for farm life?

I’m sure living on a farm in the States–along with most industrialized countries in the Northern hemisphere–is a little bit different. Cold weather probably means snow and all sorts of weather conditions I am in no way accustomed with. You probably have barns to keep your animals in and to be honest I don’t really know much else about farm life except for the animals or barns.

On our “farm,” which is really just two houses on a plot of land with eucalyptus trees, bamboo, and fruit trees, along with 20+ sheep, 6 cows, 5 pigs and 25+ piglets. Our fruit trees bear apples, pears, persimmons, figs, plums, peaches, and guayaba. While yes it is nice to grow our own fruit, my goodness it’s annoying to have a surplus and have to get rid of them. We normally gift to our neighbors or people in town but even then we can’t get rid of them fast enough.

View of the little eucalyptus forest in the back
View of the little eucalyptus forest in the back
These are our yellow plums. So sweet and delicious!
These are our yellow plums. So sweet and delicious!

Right now we’re trying to really focus on organic farming. We are composting and have a farm breeding area behind the pig pen so the chickens and birds won’t try to eat them. Our plans for the next few months are to build greenhouses to then grow our own vegetables and try to be as self sustaining as we can be. It’s not going to happen over night but I feel confident that we will reach that goal one day.

Some of our sheep. We named the texel (the white faced sheep) Belle. She’s a milking sheep. She always answers when we call and just so happens to be my favorite. She was pregnant with her twins here.

I’ll update on how our farming is going throughout the year. I’m still learning as much as I possibly can. It isn’t easy but new beginnings never are.