The local way
Have you ever wanted to milk a cow and make your own cheese? Maybe you’ve been dying to learn how to make tamales or learn how equipales or huaraches are made? If so, then join us for a Day at the Ranch where you will get to sample and take part in several aspects of ranching life in a small Mexican village near La Huerta.
We begin our day early, as is the custom in the countryside the world over. And a delicious start it is! In La Huerta the tradition is to eat churros all day, but more importantly for us on the trip, for breakfast! After learning how this fried delicacy is prepared we take our still hot churros to visit Don Oscar and Doña Maria Elena in their store and workshop where they make equipales. These wood and leather seats date to pre-Hispanic times and we learn about their history and how they are made still using the traditional methods.
This rainy season the Rio Purificación has had a bad spawning cycle for the local delicacy of chacales (crayfish). Normally we meet local chacalero Reyes, who will teach us how he makes his own traps to catch the several species of freshwater shrimp, crayfish and langostinos from the mountain spring fed river that passes through the property he co-owns with his brother. He battles the strong currents and cold water to tend to his traps, in the hope that they catch this local delicacy that can sell for as much as $2,000 pesos per kg. Hopefully this stop of the tour will return in full for 2024, but we will still explain the process to you as we travel by.
Our next stop is 15 minutes away along a dirt track to the village of Las Pilas, a small sleepy cattle-ranching community known throughout the region for having several pure mountain springs that pump water out year round. Here we arrive to a traditionally cooked Mexican breakfast, and get the chance to make our own handmade tortillas outside on a wood burning stove. We then we head to the corrals to milk the cows who have been brought down from the surrounding hills by Omar. Using the milk collected, we will start the curdling process to make fresh cheese, which we will finish later on in the day.
We’ll have a quick lesson learning how to make a refreshingly simple drink before taking a walk around the village to see some of the natural springs which sustain the town, amongst over town landmarks.
Following this we will take part in a class learning how to make tamales with Doña Rosa Elena, as well as learning and making the crumbly queso fresco from the milk we earlier on collected.
Finishing our time in Las Pilas, we head towards the municipal capital of La Huerta on our way back home, and if people still have room, we make a quick stop to try some of the rich and creamy ice cream that seems to taste so much better in cattle and dairy towns than anywhere else!