A Personalized Tour of a Dairy Farm

A few days ago, at the very friendly and comfortable Hostal El Rey, I met the son-in-law of the Nicaraguan owners, a very relaxed, yet ultra-industrious former Manhattanite named Leo Castro.  He was one of those fortunate souls who grew up bilingual and bicultural. Because he lived most of his childhood in the US, he’s more of a gringo than a Nicaraguan.

After talking for a while, and him providing me with a wealth of information about his second homeland, he invited me to take a drive with him out of Matagalpa, to see his dairy farm.

The drive provided splendid scenery.

There is no way that I can reiterate everything that he showed me, as I received so much information that it was a bit overwhelming.  It was too much for me to process.  This is probably due to the fact that, when it comes to farming, I’m a layman in every sense of the word.  I’ve never been to a farm such as this, nor have I received a tour of one.

This day reinforced in me that there are two things that I must improve upon.  I need to put more time and effort into shooting photos.  Also, I must make it a habit to carry a notepad and pen.  Jotting notes would have enabled me to provide you, my reader, with more detailed information about this delightful day.

However, my travel portal is in its infancy and experimental stage.  I learned a valuable lesson hanging out with Leo. That said, I’m very happy with the way things are transpiring, as I feel that I’ve now reached my first goal; making daily documentation a habit.

Thus, I will recap what I learned as best as I can.

Currently, his main toiling is to produce organic milk, as his cows are treated tenderly, unlike most bovine animals in the United States that are injected with hormones and managed worse than slaves.   Also, he is the first person in Nicaragua to feed his cows with dark green plants.  I can’t remember the name of these perennials.

Another thing he’s doing is donating lentils to indigenous people who might otherwise experience famine due to an unseasonably dry year.  With climate change effecting crops, those who get by with the bare essentials are the ones most victimized.

He’s also in the process of planting 1,000 trees, this will help the environment, as the indigenous people in the area have been cutting far too much for burning. This way they can cook their rice and beans, and meat if they are very fortunate.

With the help of a guru from India, he’s in the process of creating eco-friendly, sustainable energy, something nobody in Nicaragua does right now.  This is a ridiculously huge project that’s very hard for me to fathom, as my engineering/mechanical aptitude is rather compromised.

Another great undertaking of Leo’s is to create sheep cheese, a rare delicacy. He’s been given equipment from a Dutch master, who like the sub-continental man, is impressed by his pioneering endeavors.

This fresh experience was surreal.  I met humble indigenous people, saw animals, impressive nature, and got a personalized tour of a dairy farm in northern, rural Nicaragua.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rae on February 7, 2011 at 00:08

    I’ve really been enjoying your posts.

    Sounds like Leo is an agricultural pioneer who’s working on some really innovative projects. In the US we’ve gone to the extreme of industrial farming, and organic and sustainable farming techniques seem like a response to that, to a certain extent. Is commercial dairy farming in Nicaragua as industrial as it is here? Is Leo offering an alternative? Or are farms already more natural there, and he is taking it a step (or several) further?

    You’re fortunate to have gotten this inside look. Thanks for sharing!


    • I’m so happy that you’re enjoying the posts. Yeah what he’s doing is innovative for sure. Nicaragua is perhaps poorer than you can imagine, and the country is microscopic in comparison to the US, so it’s not at all as commercial, but still, if you buy beef/chicken/pork in the store it’s probably been injected with something as profiteering reigns everywhere. I’d need to do a bit of research in order to answer your question in a more in-depth fashion as this sort of thing is not my forte. 🙂


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