Paulo bought the trapiche about 5 years ago from someone in the nearby village of Argentina. Earth University was interested in this antique sugar mill to buy for it's new Guanacaste (Pacific coast) campus. It was still set up with the brick ovens to boil the cane juice to make molasses, and molds for the brown sugar. Efrain grew up in Guanacaste working with a trapiche from a young age. So, he has always been excited about the trapiche. When the trapiche was bought, Efrain, Roger and Jose were the team that took it apart and loaded it and transported it to the farm. So, they knew how the trapiche was put together by taking it apart.
Only the mill part of the trapiche is being set up for Stage #1, so only sugar cane juice will be made by manual turning of the milling wheel. It is fun to make your own sugar cae juice. That is what we did today at Finca Rio Perla.
Anyway, it was really quite a "process" to mount each piece of the trapiche mill. There was already a beautiful roof with some clear roofing panels along with the zinc roofing panels, and 2 massive wood posts in the ground for the trapiche mounting process. The 9 columns of the roof are all cement posts from an old corral that long ago been taken down (great recycling). It was a struggle to get all the pieces mounted, and it included a lot of improvision with different tools, like hand saw and chain saw, to get everything in place. But, everyone consulted on how to proceed and they worked together as a group. A great team effort.
In the afternoon, Scott, Dennis. Lauren and Paulo went to clean the trapiche so that we could make sugar cane juice that was drinkable. There luckily was a long hose and an attachment to allow the water from Salon La Perla to be used to clean the mud and muck and insects from the wood and metal rollers that had been sitting around for 5 years. After a long while cleaning the trapiche, Dennis took a machete and went to the nearby sugar cane planting and cut about 10 stalks and together we ran them through the rollers and caught the raw juice in large pan. Then we dipped our large cups in the large pan and poured it through a strainer into a second glass. The pure sugar cane juice was so refreshing. Scott immediately noted that it could easily be made into rum. But, so delicious when freshly squeezed.
So, the trapiche that was bought 5 years ago and "sitting around" for 5 years was finally mounted in 5 hours of really hard physical labor, and another hour or so of cleaning things up so that we could drink the raw sugar cane juice through a strainer. A long, long time and a very sweet ending to a long period of anticipation. The view from the trapiche is quite spectacular toward the Caribbean.
For the past 5 years the trapiche was always moved to the end of the priority list. Finishing the trapiche marks the end of a period of an infrastructure building projects at Finca Rio Perla. We are blessed to have such great people at Finca Rio Perla to do all these projects. In the past year and a half we have finished the 16 horse barn, 40 goat housing and milking parlor and pasture area, a large greenhouse, and a biodigestor. In addition we rennovated the cow milking area and improved the worm compost area next to the biodigestor. Also, we set up about 10 barrels of fermented organic "brews" for foliar applications next to the cow milking area. Thanks/Gracias to all. Pura Vida. Dr. Paulo