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Brazil 2004 Cerrado Coffee Competition, Coffee Tour

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The farm has a few full-time residents. In the back, and herb garden by one of the onsite houses, and their pup.
In the farm's office, I found this charming poster in the back room. All we have in California are Rattlesnakes; some of these make our Rattlesnakes seem like gummy worms by comparison.
I am always impressed by the creative uses for tires and other "trash". This tree seems to have outgrown it's tire though.
And finally, perhaps most mundane too, is the reason the farm is named Clear Water. These are pits that smell none too good, but serve a great purpose. They prevent contamination of the water supply with the water used in the wet areas of the mill, during the pulping and mucilage process. You will see these "ponds" for fermenting mucilage water at many farms now. They are not attractive but they are an environmentally sound idea.
After the Cerrado Quality Competition was over, my friend Tulio Junqueira was kind enough to drive me all over South Minas Gerais, to his hometown of Pouso Alegre, to his farm (Carmo Estate), to Pinhalense (the equipment company, to the port city of Santos, and back to Sao Paulo. Needless to say, I owe Tulio a big thanks. Here he is at Carmo with his dogs...
On the road ...Trucks carrying charcoal to the brick factories in Minas. Alongside the coffee, you often see Eucalyptus groves that are harvested for making charcoal. After I took this picture, we saw a charcoal truck that must have had a smoldering cinder deep in its load - it had caught fire and consumed about 1/2 the truckload. They also tend to tip over a lot.
Typical small cattle farm in South Minas. When my friend Tulio saw the stone wall, he mentioned that it was probably built in the 19th century by slave labor.
Me and an anthill along the road. The anthills are very hard - in fact stood on top of this one. The pockmark many of the fields. There are fire ants in Brazil but this is not their work...
The Rio Negro lake in South Minas. There is a lot of coffee production around the lake since the humid air off the lake protects from frost. But the elevation here isn't great, and the humidity can affect the coffee adversely in the hot months. Fazenda Ipanema is in the area, although they have multiple farms in the region.
New plantings in the Rio Negro lake region. It is sort of frightening to see such a massive coffee operation like this, but there is a lot of arabica sold in the commercial market and it comes from farms that look worse than this. Other concerns are that this large-scale vineyard-ish approach has negative environmental consequences but you are looking at an area that was grassland and shrub, not a forested area. Still, the scale of farms in Brazil is new to me...
Another view of the same farm in Rio Negro area. Tulio (Carmo Estate) and I could not figure out what cultivar this was ... possibly a type of Mundo Novo. These plants are 1 year old.
Passion flower on a vine at coffee farm, South Minas.
A car on a roof. You know that if someone has the will and ability to put a VW Bug on their roof then they must be a good mechanic too.
On the roadside we saw an old, typical Fazenda for coffee, with a small onsite mill and drying patio
I like dogs, what can I say. In the cities of Brazil, from small Patrocinio to huge Sao Paolo, it was the first place in Central or South America that I actually saw dogs being walked on a leash. Now this pup looks like he has never seen a leash in his life...
A statue outside the coffee town of Tres Pontas (or it might be nearby Boa Esperanca - my notes got jumbled). The statue depicts 3 workers hauling coffee bags over their heads, as they used to do. I have tried it ... actually, it's a pretty good way to move coffee provided you don't trip or stumble.
Varginha, a coffee town. In fact, Varinha has several large co-ops and is the coffee center for Sul de Minas region, just as Patrocinio is for Cerrado. We stopped here to try out some espresso, but Tulio mentioned that Varginha was also known as a place of reported ET visitations. Of course, I was very excited about this.
We had to look around to find the Alien stuff, but it wasn't too hard. I found this ET statue outside a gas station, and found a gift shop with T-shirts featuring the same alien drinking a cup of coffee!
And then there were the saucer-inspired bus stops. Truly priceless. I also found alien statuettes you could buy wearing the jersey of your favorite soccer team.
We finally made it to Tulio's hometown of Pouso Alegre, an average sized rural center of about 100,000. It is ideal for Tulio since his wife Lu is a practicing physician in town, and the farm, Carmo Estate, is about 30 minutes drive. Here is a view at night.

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