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Trip of a Lifetime I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within. ~Lillian Smith

Quakers and the Monteverde Cheese Factory

COSTA RICA | Tuesday, 12 February 2008 | Views [2427]

My first rainbow!  Town of Santa Elena

My first rainbow! Town of Santa Elena

Chocolate cheese anyone?  They really did have it, along with smoked gouda, swiss, Monte Rico (my favorite), and cheddar.  The chocolate cheese really did taste like a combination of both.  But no, I didn't walk out with a package of it.  The ice cream was so much better! I probably should have taken a guided tour of the cloud forest today but I wanted a day to relax so I slept in and then took the local bus to check out the Monteverde Cheese Factory.  Now, don't quote me but this is what the guide told us...The cheese factory began back in 1950 when the Quakers arrived.  There were four families of 16 people who left the States after the men had spent a year in jail because they refused to be in the military.  Costa Rica was ideal because it had previously disbanded it's military.  The Quakers settled in Monteverde and then had to decide how they were going to make a living.  They decided to begin making cheese and now almost 60 years later, the company provides cheese all over the country.  She said that they do export some to Nicaragua and Panama.  Until ecotourism took off, the cheese factory was the largest employer in Monteverde. 

I spoke to the owner of our hostel this evening and was asking him questions about Costa Rica and the Monteverde area.  He mentioned that the average Costa Rican makes about $300-$400/month.  Most people rent because they cannot afford the land. A 1 room shack is about $100/month.  He said there are about 5,000 people living in the Monteverde area and most workers take the bus in from surrounding towns since it is so much cheaper.  Sound familiar?  The school system seems to be similar to the US; six years of primary and then 5 or 6 years of secondary.  The 6 year schools specialize in a vocation (tourism, business) and you have a degree when you finish. I'm thinking it must be like a certificate program.     

Tags: Food & eating

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