There is no way that my pictures or descriptions are going to do justice to the verdant valleys, hills, and mountains of Costa Rica. But here goes another stab at it.
Visiting the Doka Coffee Estate in the Central Valley provided a setting far removed from our Texas landscape.
The only way it was the same was that the strong morning sun made picture taking difficult.
Not sure if these are bananas or plantains. Plantains were offered at several breakfast buffets. The ones I tasted were good. A little sugar and butter do wonders for lots of foods. Or perhaps, the cooking process brings out the sweetness.
Hydrangeas were huge and sported many different colors.
We saw them growing in many areas of the country. They seemed not to bother deadheading them.
Since I do not even attempt to grow them, they fascinated me.
Hydrangeas require too much water, time, and attention here.
But they are gorgeous.
These definitely look like Papyrus plants. They aren’t growing in water, but the soil is probably wet enough for their needs.
I’m pretty sure the red flowers are Ginger plants. They were another ubiquitous plant.
This young lady’s English was perfect. She enunciated each word precisely. Here she is explaining that they constantly grow new coffee plants to replace older ones. As they age, the bean production slows down.
This is the size planted in the fields.
Coffee trees are native to Ethiopia and were brought to the Americas by the British.
As she talks, I can’t take my eyes off of the surroundings.
This red and yellow flower is Parrot Flower (Heliconia). They have multi-colored bracts and varied flower structures.
It takes 2 to 4 years before a coffee tree produces beans that are ripe enough to harvest.
The basket is hooked to a strap around the waist to free hands for picking. Pickers are paid two (US) dollars for each basket of beans. A good picker can fill 10 to 20 baskets a day. They are instructed to pick the ripe red cherries, although some green ones get grabbed with the red ones.
The pickers are Nicaraguan immigrants. While working the fields for 6 months at a time, they are given housing with electricity, water, and schooling for their children. Then they move on to harvest other crops.
Because of the political instability that exists in Nicaragua, there have been steady streams of illegal immigrants since 1978, the start of the revolution. All immigrants receive the same benefits as natives.
There were several food plants scattered among the coffee trees. These are to provide food for birds in the hopes of distracting them from eating the coffee berries.
In the background is a waterwheel. This is part of the process of coffee production. There is also a dry process that is used in other places.
The wet process uses water to sort the beans.
In the first step, the unripe fruit will float and be skimmed off.
The skin of the cherry and some of the pulp is removed by pressing the fruit in water through a machine.
Aquapulping removes the reminder of the pulp.
We walk through a warehouse where bags of beans are stored.
Then go out into a paved area where the beans are dried. They are spread out in the sun to dry. When it rains, they are covered with tarps.
When dry, the crumbly parchment skins are removed. That’s what is seen in this picture. We were there at the end of the harvesting and production season.
The beans are being bagged to sell in the gift shop.
The different varieties are shown and explained.
Extremely important to the history of Costa Rica is the oxcart. Because of the hilly and mountainous terrain, it was the only way for many years to transport coffee and other produce.
Painting the oxcarts also has a long history. At some point, a farmer noticed how a spot on a wheel made an interesting sight as it rolled along. Then people got creative and tried to paint their carts with a unique design.
As we walk to the gift shop, more flowers speak to me.
The archway was covered with this vine. The flowers had a waxy look.
This vine looks like good old Crossvine.
There were flowers and the yellow “fruit” on the same bush.
Don’t know if it’s a fruit or not. Interesting.
A sidewalk is imprinted with coffee bean shapes.
Even though neither of us drink coffee, this was a fascinating visit.
“Listen, Linus, friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s all about the friend who comes and stands by your side in bad times.” Charlie Brown